Travel and Tourism Apprenticeships

Do you obsessively browse travel blogs and bookmark all the far-flung islands you can't wait to go to? Or perhaps you're a free spirit who's always daydreaming about their next big adventure?

Travel and Tourism Apprenticeships

Do you obsessively browse travel blogs and bookmark all the far-flung islands you can't wait to go to? Or perhaps you're a free spirit who's always daydreaming about their next big adventure?

If so, a career in travel and tourism would be right up your street. As one of the largest industries in the world, it offers tons of career opportunities including a variety of travel apprenticeships for school leavers.

To learn more about how travel and tourism apprenticeships work and why you should do one, read our step-by-step guide below.

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Can you get an apprenticeship in travel and tourism?

You absolutely can! In fact, travel and tourism apprenticeships are a great way to kick-start a career in the industry.

You could work on a cruise ship and spend months on board seeing the sites of Asia, Europe and the Caribbean. Or become a tour guide and show holiday makers around some of the world's most interesting sites.

More of a water baby? If so, you could train as a sailing instructor and work in the sparkling waters of the Mediterranean. Read on to find out how an apprenticeship could land you your dream job.

Our Best Student Employers table is a great place to start when looking for your ideal role. It's based on thousands of honest reviews written by apprentices just like you. So if you're looking for the best travel and tourism apprenticeships, but need a hand picking the right one, make sure to check it out.

To make things easier, we've picked out some of the best companies for travel and tourism apprenticeships below :

"I have developed and learnt many skills in the last couple months. I've learnt how to use Aztec, beer line cleaning, the vault, p&l reports. Also I have developed my skills in running a team and delegating tasks. I've had to deal with difficult situations and problem-solve regularly." (Team Leader, Greene King)

What qualifications do you need?

Academic qualifications aren't a 'must' for this industry. You can find your way in by doing an intermediate (level 2) or advanced (level 3) apprenticeship.

Level 2 travel and tourism apprenticeships

Intermediate apprenticeships let you start your career straight out of school. You'll split your time between work and study, working for an employer 80% of the time and studying towards a nationally recognised qualification for the remaining 20%.

Your programme will take around 12-18 months to complete. Once you're done, you'll receive an NVQ Level 2 and a knowledge-based qualification, such as a BTEC.

If you dream of heading to the skies as a cabin crew member for Virgin Atlantic, level 2 travel apprenticeships can make that happen.

Tour guide

Imagine getting paid to show first-time travellers around a destination - that's the reality of a tour guide. They're experts in travel, clued up on the history of a place and ready to answer any questions that may be thrown their way. As a tour guide, you could visit national parks one month and ramble through archeological sites the next. That's pretty awesome if you ask us.

If you want to become a tour guide, you'll need to be a great communicator, have bags of charisma and have a passion for travel knowledge. If this sounds like you, launch your career with this Level 2 Customer Services Practitioner apprenticeship at City & Guilds.

As a customer services apprentice, you'll learn how to interact with clients. Whether it's face-to-face, by post, email, phone or social media. Plus, you'll learn how to overcome challenging ones too. You'll earn a salary for your work, so it's a win-win, really.

If you don't have GCSE passes in Maths and English, you might have to take a Functional Skills course alongside your apprenticeship. Always check with your prospective employer first.

Cabin crew member

Fancy shopping in Manhattan one day and basking in Australia's beachy Byron Bay the next? As a member of Virgin Atlantic's cabin crew, you'll get to do just that. Hop on board this amazing 14-month apprenticeship and work with a development coach who'll train you up to fly.


Level 3 travel and tourism apprenticeships

Advanced apprenticeships are a step above intermediate apprenticeships, but work in similar ways. You'll earn while you learn, splitting your time between working for your employer and studying towards an NVQ Level 3 qualification with a training provider.

Your programme will take 2 - 4 years to complete.

As a level 3 apprentice, you'll widen your knowledge and build on skills you developed at intermediate level. You'll have more responsibilities too, as both a manager and supervisor. If you work in hotel maintenance, for instance, you'll need to ensure that the building is operational and safe to use. If you work in a pub, you'll be doing things like running shifts and counting tills.

If you're working in the travel and tourism sector, or completed a level 2 apprenticeship and want more training, check out the Level 3 Travel Consultant Apprenticeship at Damar Training.


What do travel apprenticeships do?

Travel and tourism is such a broad industry. You can work on the ground OR a train OR on a plane. The choice is yours! Maybe you have some ideas already, but in case you don't, here's a selection of travel apprenticeships you can do in this sector...

Travel writer

If you love writing and travel, what better way to combine the two than becoming a travel writer? You'll get to see the world, explore different cultures, take stunning pictures and write about it. Imagine hiking in Machu Picchu on a crisp March morning, only to catch a plane to Kyoto's cherry blossom streets the following evening. Now that's what we call adventure.

Getting into travel writing isn't as hard as it sounds. Most people start by creating a blog. That shows employers three things:

  • You've got great writing skills

  • You're serious about your craft

  • You have an eye for photography

Social media should be your best friend. Create an account for your travels: write reviews of hotels and restaurants, post instagrammable pictures and follow inspiring travel brands like no tomorrow.

Hotel manager

As the name suggests, hotel managers run hotels. Not only do they head up the financial side of things, they manage front-of-house, catering and housekeeping too. That's a lot of plates to spin! Who knows what they'll be doing next... become Mary Poppins and use their magical powers to teleport between departments... maybe?

On an average day, you'll be:

  • Recruiting, training and monitoring staff

  • Meeting and greeting customers

  • Inspecting the property

  • Supervising renovations

  • Dealing with contractors

  • Analysing sales figures and devising strategies to manage costs

  • Ensuring hotel security

  • Following health and safety regulations


Salaries range from £20,000 - £60,000 a year depending on your experience and size of the establishment.


You don't need a degree to become a hotel manager. You can work your way up from an apprenticeship. Hooray! If it's something you really want to do, why not give the level 3 apprenticeship in hospitality at HTP Apprenticeship College a go? Once you've finished your programme, you'll become a qualified hospitality supervisor and can then move onto a level 4 apprenticeship in hospitality management.

Event manager

Event managers are the top guys - the custard creams of the events industry. They plan and organise events and make them as fun as fun can be. Remember Ed Sheeran and Stormzy's double act performance at Wembley? How crazy busy it all was? Imagine all the planning that went into that. As an event manager, you'll need to:

  • Talk to clients to learn about their event requirements

  • Create proposals on budgeting, suppliers and staffing

  • Find venues and contractors and negotiate costs

  • Manage and coordinate suppliers

  • Confirm the line-up of guest speakers

  • Work with sales and marketing to promote the event

  • Handle client queries and make sure the event runs smoothly and to budget

  • Ensure on-site facilities are available (parking, first-aid, security)

  • Organise the clear up

  • Write up evaluation reports


Salaries for event managers range from £21,000 - £40,000 a year depending on how experienced you are. If you're an entry level candidate, you'll get paid the minimum wage. As you progress and become a senior manager or director, your bank balance will shoot up too.


You don't need specific qualifications to become an event manager. But getting a diploma in event management would massively help. You can study for one at the Centre of Excellence. Their level 3 programme is self-paced, takes 150 hours to complete and can be done from the comfort of your sofa.

Looking for something long-term? Check out the level 3 event assistant apprenticeship at HIT Training. This programme is 18 months long. But the best part about it is you'll get paid. Because that's what apprenticeships do (*heart eyes*).

To apply you'll need to:

  • Be 16 or over

  • Work for at least 30 hours a week

Do airlines do apprenticeships?

You better believe they do!

TUI offers great ones. Check them out below.

Aircraft Engineer

As a level 3 aircraft engineer apprentice, you'll work on planes - but not just any planes! Some of the highest tech aircrafts that are currently in operation. You'll shadow expert engineers, learn how to build engines and perform safety checks to ensure passengers make it safely from A to B. Aren't travel apprenticeships great? Look how many doors they can open!

Did you know that lots of people in senior management roles at TUI started out as apprentices? For all we know, it could be you climbing the ranks next.

“My TUI apprenticeship programme is very well organised. In my first year I was 100% at college in order to learn important skills required in the workplace. Then in my second year (my current year), I split my time between work and college; I use my skills in the workplace and improve on them.”(Level 3 Aircraft Engineer Apprentice, TUI)

Chartered Management Degree Apprenticeship

Know you want to work in travel, but not sure what part of the business you'd like to get stuck into? If so, have a look at TUI's Chartered Management Degree Apprenticeship. This four-year programme with the University of Hertfordshire will teach you everything about the business. You'll work in HR, Finance and Commercial and gain amazing workplace skills that'll come handy throughout your working life.

Watch this video to find out what a degree apprenticeship at TUI is really like.

Digital Marketing

As a digital marketing apprentice, you'll use social media and affiliate marketing to run campaigns with Google, YouTube, Facebook and MediaCom. By doing this, you'll drive online engagement and push sales across a number of TUI brands like Marella Cruises.


No two days are ever the same when you're working in finance. One moment you'll be going through the month-end, the next reviewing balance sheets. You'll take part in learning weeks and study for your AAT at a training provider.


This six-year degree apprenticeship will help you qualify as a solicitor. It's intense, guys. There'll be lots of learning and portfolio building and tons of commercial legal knowledge to soak up. Want to know the best bit? You'll be paid well and finish with very good career prospects!

Whether it's cruise ships, airlines, or hotels, you'll work on tons of contracts that'll keep you on your toes - not literally, otherwise we'd all be pirouetting around the place like ballerinas.

What is an apprentice travel agent?

Travel agents plan and create itineraries for customers' dream holidays. How nice is that! You'll often specialise in a corner of the world - so if you're passionate about Africa or the States, you could become an expert pretty quickly. Not to mention, there are perks (you might get to go experience those places yourself if you're lucky). As an apprentice, you'll be doing additional things like:

  • Advising customers on visas, passports and vaccinations

  • Advising customers when there are changes that may impact their plans

  • Dealing with complaints

  • Arranging refunds

What skills do you need?

To work in the travel industry, you'll need a juicy set of skills. Tropicana juicy. Like these...

  • Excellent customer service

  • Able to communicate effectively

  • High attention to detail

  • Good administrative skills

  • Confident making sales

  • Literate in IT: from Microsoft Word to Google Workspace

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


What GCSEs do you need for travel and tourism?

You might need five GCSEs including passes in Maths and English to work in travel and tourism. But this will depend on your employer. Each employer will have their own entry requirements.

Here are our top three tips for applications:

  • Showcase your passion - you could tell the story of where your love of travel came from

  • Research the company beforehand - highlight what it is about them you admire

  • Tailor your CV and cover letter to each role you're applying for.

You don't need to be bilingual to work in the travel industry. However, it always helps to know another language, especially if you want to work abroad.

"There is such a variety of interesting and rewarding career options within the tourism sector which offer flexibility as well as career development. It really is a great sector to work in." (Economy Minister, Vaughan Gething)
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