STARTING off at the bottom of the job rung and going on to become the owner of four McDonald’s restaurants is quite an achievement.

Peter Tassell, 53, started working at the fast-food chain at the age of 18, in 1980.

He began as a part-time worker while studying for his A-levels in Romford and he didn’t think at the time that his entire career would end up revolving around McDonald’s.

Peter, who lives in Leigh, said: “I started off as a crew member while I was studying at college.

“When I finished my education, I stayed on and progressed from one post to the next, until I became part of management.

Then in 2002 I took over three McDonald’s restaurants.”

Mr Tassell, who moved to Southend from East London in 1985, said he always knew he wanted his own business, but was just never sure what type of work he would get into.

He said: “When I started working for the company 35 years ago, it was actually quite a small chain.

“I just knew I wanted my own business and working for a company for 20 years in various roles prepared me for becoming a franchisee.

“It’s a brilliant company which really allows its staff to progress from the lowest to the highest.”

Mr Tassell became the franchisee of three McDonald’s restaurants, at Rayleigh Weir, Canvey, and Hadleigh in 2002.

He added to his portfolio in 2003 with a McDonald’s in Pitsea. The hard-working West Ham fan spends most of his time managing all four of his restaurants on site and says his work varies from day to day.

According to him, McDonald’s offers necessary support to all staff who hope to progress within the company.

He said: “About 50 per cent of the people that started working in this Rayleigh Weir chain started here as their first job.

“They start of as an employee and they’re able to progress very quickly. We offer them that support. We are quite a big employer in the area, with 280 staff, and they have that chance to progress with us.”

Three of Mr Tassell’s senior colleagues started off as crew members as well.

Sam Reid, 40, is now senior training manager, Charlotte Dale, 35, is HR manager and Paul Reid, 42, is operations consultant – and has worked in the company for 23 years.

Mrs Reid said: “I love my job – I wouldn’t change it for anything.

I started off as a crew member and worked my way up.”

Mr Tassell is now hoping to inspire many more youngsters to follow in the same footsteps through the McDonald’s Apprenticeship Scheme.

This is open to anyone under the age of 18 who is not in education and allows youngsters to learn about all areas of the business.

The qualification is equivalent to five GCSEs and can also lead to promotions within the company.

As well as training staff and devoting his time to the staff, Mr Tassell is also quite the community man.

His business sponsors various football teams in and around Castle Point, works with the Salvation Army to help reintroduce people back into the workforce and he is even a governor at West Leigh Junior School, in Ronald Hill Grove.

He said: “We love working with the community and we try to support financially where we can.”