Leisure and Hospitality Apprenticeships

Fancy yourself as the next Gordon Ramsay? Or find yourself whipping up tasty baked goods that are worthy of a Paul Hollywood handshake or two? If so, then an apprenticeship in leisure and hospitality could be perfect for you.

Leisure and Hospitality Apprenticeships

Fancy yourself as the next Gordon Ramsay? Or find yourself whipping up tasty baked goods that are worthy of a Paul Hollywood handshake or two? If so, then an apprenticeship in leisure and hospitality could be perfect for you.

The leisure and hospitality industry is full of opportunities that will take you far and wide. You could work in catering and serve delicious three-course meals to wedding guests in the south of France. Or apply for hospitality management apprenticeships and learn how to run a beach resort full of A-list celebs.

We bet you didn't know that Jamie Oliver started out as an apprentice? Well, would you look at him now!

If you're keen on pursuing a career in this fun-filled sector, read our guide to leisure and hospitality apprenticeships to find out how they work and why you should do one.

Can you do an apprenticeship in hospitality?

You most certainly can! When we talk about leisure and hospitality, we're not just talking about evenings out at restaurants or weekend city breaks; this industry covers everything.

The leisure and hospitality sector is one of the fastest moving sectors and is the third largest in the UK. It offers a huge variety of apprenticeship roles across the sector: from nightclubs, cafés and bars to hotels and conference centers, So if you enjoy working with people, delivering excellent customer service or developing delicious dishes, this industry could be just for you.

Here are some areas you can do an apprenticeship:

  • Catering

  • Hotel management

  • Leisure centres

"I would approach the apprenticeship programme with great enthusiasm, curiosity and determination, and consider the programme as an incredible opportunity to develop on a professional and personal level." (Restaurant Hostess & Level 2 Leisure and Hospitality Apprentice at Hilton)

How do leisure and hospitality apprenticeships work?

Leisure and hospitality apprenticeships are tailored programmes that allow you to receive on-the-job training while studying towards industry recognised qualifications.

As a leisure and hospitality apprentice, you'll work for a company 80% of the time and study at a college or training provider for the remaining 20%. However, the exact structure of your apprenticeship will be determined by your employer.

Every aspect of your apprenticeship will be designed to help you excel in your role, so you can progress quickly up the career ladder and call those top shots.

Apprenticeship levels

As with all apprenticeships, leisure and hospitality apprenticeships come in four levels, depending on your age and experience:

If you're starting your career, a level 2 apprenticeship is the one for you. Once you've gained experience and built a good set of skills, you can move up to a level 3 or level 4 apprenticeship.


What courses are in hospitality?

Plenty! So many in fact, it's hard knowing which one to pick. Let's take a look at some examples...

As a level 2 apprentice, you'll work in a range of environments. It could be bars or restaurants one week and conference centres the next. You'll develop an understanding of how the hospitality industry works and learn how to provide excellent customer service that exceeds expectations.

Our Best Student Employers table is based on thousands of honest reviews written by apprentices just like you. So if you want to know which employers are the crème de la crème of their industry, this is the place to start. You might even find your dream apprenticeship there.

We've hand-picked some of the best companies offering apprenticeships in hospitality...

Best Hospitality Employers:

Hear what one apprentice thought about their time at Greene King.

"I have learnt how to effectively manage my team and motivate them, as well as how to be flexible with different learning and motivation styles. This has been a great learning experience and will hopefully be reflected in our current rant and rave survey." (Assistant Manager and Level 3 Apprentice at Greene King)

A course in hospitality will teach you everything you need to know about people management. Plus, it'll train you up in other areas too like leadership and marketing. As a hospitality worker, your role is to offer great customer service. To do that, you'll need excellent management skills.

Hospitality management apprenticeships

If you've completed a level 2 and level 3 apprenticeship OR have experience supervising people in the hospitality sector, apply for the Level 4 Hospitality Management Higher Apprenticeship programme with HIT Training...

and earn yourself an NVQ level 4 qualification in hospitality management.

Hospitality management apprenticeships teach you three important things:

  • How a company works: what its aims and objectives are

  • How to carry out effective customer service

  • How to nurture talent and get the best out of your employees

As a hospitality manager, it's your responsibility to head up the commercial strategies of a business and ensure all targets are being met. Not only will you manage budgets and keep financial records up-to-date, you'll supervise staff, oversee maintenance and deal with customer complaints.

That's a lot of management... but you can do it!


Want to find out more about what it's really like to do a leisure and hospitality apprenticeship? Have a read of over 40,000 student-written reviews.


What qualifications do you need for hospitality?

You don't need specific qualifications to work in hospitality. However, some employers will ask for GCSEs in Maths, English and Science graded at levels 9 to 4 (A* to C).

You might be asking yourself, "Why science?"

Well, hospitality is a social science - or the study of human behaviour. The more we can understand each other as humans, the better our interactions will be.

Remember the charming waiter who shared their favourite dishes on the menu? Or that hotel concierge who shared their local tips for the area? Their personable customer service all added to your positive experience.

Want to know what the main social sciences are? We've listed them for you below...

  • Anthropology

  • Psychology

  • Sociology

  • Linguistics

  • Politics

  • Economics

Watch this video to find out what it's like to work in hospitality and catering.

How long is a catering apprenticeship?

Catering apprenticeships take 12-18 months to complete. During this time, you'll gain hands-on experience and work-based training that will prepare you for this fast-moving industry. Schools, colleges, hospitals and universities all have their own catering departments, so you'll be spoilt for choice - that's for sure!

Who would it suit?

To work in catering and hospitality, you'll need:

  • To be a great team player

  • Have excellent communication skills

  • A strong work ethic

  • Bundles of energy and enthusiasm

You'll also need to be prepared to work long, unsocial hours. Weekends too. So if you're ready to swap the occasional party invite for a night out serving hot meals to patients at the NHS, go for it. You'll be so glad you did.

What jobs can I do?

As a catering apprentice, you'll start your career as an assistant, most likely a waiter. You'll learn the ins and outs of the restaurant, and what it takes to create a successful brand, from pricing to menu choices. You'll get to meet lots of people too. Who knows - one of them might end up being your next employer!

Once you've gained experience, you can snap up the top jobs. Perhaps you'd like to be a restaurant manager or a food manufacturing inspector?

What can I earn?

While your salary depends on your apprenticeship level, you'll still receive the National Minimum Wage. Some employers will pay you more though. If you live in London, you could earn £23,001 per year.

How do I become a chef apprentice?

Have a chef in your family? Maybe your dad's one. And seeing him make his signature dishes has fuelled your own love of food. Or perhaps you won a bake off at school recently and felt you could totally make a career out of it.

If so, a chef apprenticeship could be just the ticket.

Chefs are hospitality professionals who are responsible for:

  • Innovating food production

  • Perfecting the art of cuisine

But they do so much more!

As an apprentice, you can specialise in a particular area of food preparation like butchering or meat processing and learn about their techniques. Or work in beverages, preparing and serving wines and cocktails. There's tons of scope to get creative with that one!

In order to become a chef, you'll need lots of training. Don't worry, an apprenticeship will allow you to develop the right skills to work in a kitchen and set you on the right path.

Commis chef

Ready to get your foot through the door? Kick-start your career as a commis chef. This is an entry level position that's designed for anyone wanting to break into the industry.

As a commis chef, you'll perform a wide range of tasks given to you by the chef de partie. One moment you'll be measuring ingredients and helping out with deliveries, the next assisting with stock rotation to ensure that ingredients have been used before their expiry dates. Cool, huh? So.. what do you think? Has it tickled those taste buds yet?

Where can I do a commis chef apprenticeship?

Commis chef apprenticeships are available in a number of places, including:

Find out which training providers near you offer commis chef apprenticeships.

There's a certain level of camaraderie that comes with being a chef. It's like being on a football team. You'll form strong bonds with your colleagues and before you know it, they're just as close as family!

Leisure apprenticeships

The leisure industry is huge, and thank goodness for that. If it weren't for gyms, cinemas, beaches and swimming pools, life would look very different indeed.

Have you ever thought about becoming a tennis coach, or teaching students how to wind sail? Well, now is your chance! If you're outgoing, have a passion for sport and amazing people skills, a career in leisure will be perfect for you.

Discover which companies are offering leisure apprenticeships by checking out the list below...

Working in leisure and hospitality isn't just a job. It's a lifestyle. You'll make new friends, experience different cultures and live and breathe the social scene around you. That's a whole new level of adventure.

Hope you enjoy the ride!

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