Would you like to work in an industry which provides a service? Would you enjoy meeting people, preparing food, housekeeping, being part of a team and working variable hours including evenings and weekends? Have you got an outgoing personality? Are you highly motivated and do you like taking responsibility? Then hospitality or catering could be for you.
Hospitality and catering trade employers are looking for young people with a positive attitude and who are willing to learn.
It is an increasingly competitive industry, so on a wider level, marketing and language skills are very much in demand.
Employers are also recognising how important it is to train their staff to improve their professionalism and meet the needs of their customers.
Routes into this sector
There are various types of qualifications available:
- At 14 GCSEs in English and maths will help get you into this sector. Your school might also offer vocational qualifications such as BTECs, OCR Nationals, etc. related to this specific job sector.
- At 16 you have more options, you could do A Levels, which are general academic subjects or develop your knowledge and skills for this sector through an apprenticeship/traineeship or vocational qualifications.
- At 18 or 19 your options open further - you may wish to do a higher education/university course, with 8 out of 10 A Level students choosing this pathway and half of all BTEC National students. However there are other routes into this sector through apprenticeships and vocational qualifications
Hospitality and catering has not always been seen as a professional career and given the same status in the UK as in other countries, but this is changing. There are now many top chefs and other people working in hospitality and catering who are changing these perceptions.
The nature of the work is vocational so there are ways into it through vocational qualifications, apprenticeships, on the job training or through college programmes.
If you are looking at a career as a chef you could look at taking a GCSE in Food Technology or a BTEC in Catering before progressing to a higher level qualification or an apprenticeship.
If you would prefer to work in management there are opportunities to follow either a vocational or an academic route, with courses specifically designed for hotel and catering management, including at degree level.
To find out more about the qualifications needed in this sector visit the Sector Skills Council’s website, People 1st.
Spotlight on... Apprenticeships
The hospitality and catering industry contributes billions to the UK economy, and is one of the biggest employers of young people in the UK.
The advantage of an apprenticeship in this sector is that it will lead to nationally recognised qualifications. This will give you a real kick-start, with scope for quick progression.
There is a wide range of companies which employ hospitality and catering apprentices - restaurants, pubs, bars, nightclubs, hotels, contract caterers, holiday centres and visitor attractions. Your working day as well as your responsibility will differ depending on where you work and what apprenticeship you do.
There are lots of opportunities to progress once you have completed your apprenticeship and within hospitality there are now Higher Apprenticeships available which could help you progress to management level.
The videos below feature two young adults who share their stories about how an apprenticeship set them on their way to a future career in the hospitality and catering sector.
Neil became an Executive Head Chef in North Somerset after completing a Professional Cookery Apprenticeship. He is now involved in recruiting and supporting apprentices in his own kitchen.
The video below features Abigail who completed an apprenticeship and an Advanced Apprenticeship in Hospitality and Catering and is now working towards a Foundation Degree in Hospitality Management whilst working as restaurant manager in Plymouth.
Hospitality and Catering Apprenticeship
Websites for job vacancies in this sector
Why not try a free, online course (MOOC) in this job area?
Future Learn have lots of free, online courses that will improve your knowledge of this job sector and improve your chances of landing your dream job. e.g. The University of Aberdeen has developed a 4 week course about Nutrition and Wellbeing. Click on the following link for more information