The world's biggest hotelier, Intercontinental, said it would create 3,000 jobs at its 275 hotels in Britain over the next three years, providing a boost for youth employment, as it launched a new training academy in London.

The company, which operates the Holiday Inn and Crowne Plaza chains as well as InterContinental, said the academy had been launched in partnership with Newham College, close to the Olympic stadium, and would provide local people with hospitality training and practical work experience.

Britain is facing a youth unemployment crisis with more than one in five 16 to 24 year olds currently without a job.

The hospitality industry is a key employer of young people and around a quarter of InterContinental's 15,000 British employees are aged between 18 to 24.

The British service sector is world-beating, and will soon welcome millions of guests, said Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg at the launch of the academy at the soon-to-open Holiday Inn hotel in Stratford, an impoverished area of east London that has been the centre of regeneration focussed around the 2012 Olympics.

Intercontinental are leading the way in their sector through a tailored academy programme. It's an added investment that means young people can learn the skills for the industry in a local college, and then start their career in a local hotel, Clegg added.

Two new hotels are due to open in time for the Olympics, Intercontinental said.

(Reporting by Matt Scuffham, Editing by Rosalba O'Brien)