If you love people and providing great service, want a job that doesn’t mean you’re stuck in front of a computer screen all day, or just thrive off cooking and being in a kitchen, then hospitality could be the industry for you.

From waiting tables and working as a chef in a kitchen, to managing hotels and taking people on tours of museums, even running your own bar or night club, the sector is packed full of interesting jobs – totally different to the office-based 9am-5pm work that many of your peers might end up doing. And this definitely doesn’t mean sacrificing your future – remember, Jamie Oliver was once an apprentice in a kitchen.

Jobs in hotels

Careers within hotels and accommodation can vary greatly depending on the kind of establishment you work in. For instance, if you work in a youth hostel, your working life will be very different to that of someone working in a five star resort. Depending on the size of the organisation and what services they provide, you will be able to explore many different career paths.

Every establishment requires managerial staff to oversee the general operations. Larger hotel chains are also likely to employ financial staff, marketing teams, human resources and administrative staff. There are also many opportunities in the hotel and accommodation industry for: restaurant staff, chefs, cleaners, bar staff, concierges, kitchen assistants, customer service staff and entertainment/event organisers.

Jobs in catering 

Careers in restaurants, catering and eateries are hugely dependent on the people doing the cooking, slicing and dicing. Chefs, sous chefs, cooks, and kitchen staff are much sought after individuals for their specialist skills. These businesses also require managerial staff to make the important decisions and to ensure that the front-of-house team is working efficiently, as well waiters, bar staff and professional sommeliers. Larger restaurant chains also employ business managers and financial, human resources and marketing staff.

Careers in bars, pubs and clubs require staff to do the active bar work, but many managerial positions are also available around the UK. People in management positions are likely to be trained in ‘licensed retailing’ (employees with the responsibility of selling and authorising the sale of alcohol are required to hold a licence to do so). Larger chains are also likely to provide various options for careers in promotions and events organisation. Coffee houses, juice bars and cafes also offer great job opportunities, including baristas and managerial positions.

Conferences and cultural events require hospitality staff to ensure they run smoothly, from customer service representatives to promotional teams and bar staff. Catering and hospitality staff are also especially important within public service institutions, such as hospitals, schools and universities.

Hospitality apprenticeships

School leavers wanting to work in this sector could do an Intermediate Apprenticeship (Level 2) after taking their GCSEs, and train in roles like hospitality services assistant, silver service waiter or room attendant.

They could then do an Advanced Apprenticeship (Level 3) in roles like head housekeeper, head of reception or regional manager in a restaurant/pub. School leavers with A-levels could also access these schemes.

School leavers could also look at the courses on offer at further education college or university. 

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