So you want to work in catering & hospitality?

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There are now 2.5 million people working in catering and hospitality in Britain. They work in a wide range of places such as in hotels, restaurants, pubs and clubs providing services for customers. Employment prospects are good. Employers are putting together improved and attractive recruitment packages. These enable staff at any level to achieve a combination of formal training and practical experience.

Will I work regular hours?

Very few people who work in this industry have regular hours. Indeed, shift work, long hours, weekend working and late nights are common. The busiest time for many people in catering and hospitality is over weekends and public holidays. This might seem a drawback, but people seem to adapt, possibly because their work provides them with a great sense of teamwork and pride in pleasing their customers.

What qualities do I need to work in catering and hospitality?

Personality is highly valued. The industry is looking for outgoing, highly motivated people, focused on achieving results – the sort of people who would one day want to run their own businesses. It gives young people a lot of responsibility. If you show aptitude and the right attitude to work, you are able to progress quickly. But in most cases you do have to start at the bottom; you have got to learn the basics.

How can I get some qualifications?

By attending a college or university as a full-time student. You need to consider what area of interest you wish to study and the entry requirements for particular programmes. Minimum entry for a degree course requires five GCSEs/S grades (A-C/1-3) with two A levels/three H grades or equivalent, an Edexcel (BTEC)/SQA national diploma/certificate or vocational A level/GSVQ Level 3.

Catering and hospitality related courses:

What about Modern Apprenticeships?

(Skillseekers in Scotland) These are available in the industry for many jobs. You will be able to study for appropriate NVQs/SVQs at Levels 1, 2 and 3. Check out the Further Information section.

Can I get a job straight from school?

You can go straight into employment. Get a catering or hotel job that will provide useful experience for the future, with an employer who offers training or can help you get the support you need.

What about future prospects?

The industry is growing and changing rapidly. Many of the American innovations in the sector are now becoming readily established here – fast food, theme parks, branded pubs and budget hotels. Dining out has now become fashionable and, in many cases, people eat out more than at home. All of which create jobs that have an increasing emphasis on customer service.

Modified: 16 June 2013

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