Helping the world relax
We all need some time off every now and them, and when we do, we all like to do it in different ways. That might be going on safari, heading to Spain on a package holiday, checking out the nightlife in a European city or simply heading into town at the weekend with our friends. People working in hospitality and travel make all of those things possible, from booking our holidays to mixing a fine cocktail when we want to let our hair down.
Types of apprenticeship
Apprenticeships include catering, housekeeping and hospitality management. It’s an area that offers opportunities to work in interesting locations all over the world.
About the hospitality and travel industry
There’s all kinds of good news about this sector. The big one is that a lot of people find it fun to work in, as you’re spending a lot of time in social environments with people who want to enjoy themselves. But you might also want to know that the industry will need more than half a million new employees by the end of the decade (according to skills development charity People1st), and that you can move up the ladder pretty quickly: it’s not unusual to be in senior positions, including management roles, well before you turn thirty.
What can I do?
As Madonna once sang, taking a holiday can be so nice. But only if there are people to make it that way, so the hotel business makes up a big part of the industry. You could work in hotels of all shapes and sizes, from boutique city centre sites to huge resorts, doing anything from taking care of rooms to waiting tables, serving drinks, leading tours or taking bookings.
As well as holidays, the industry also caters for our nights out, business trips, special occasions and more. So you might start your career in a bar, pub or restaurant, preparing and serving food and drink, taking care of customers, handling money or perhaps managing the entire operation as a member of a front of house team.
On the travel side, your career might really soar with a job working for an airline, or get moving with a coach or rail company. Rewinding to the start of the process, you could be helping people book their tickets, giving them advice on where to go or making arrangements for leisure or business travel.
Hospitality and travel skills
Working in the industry demands a range of skills. If you’re working behind the scenes in a kitchen or hotel, for example, you’ll need to be able to work long hours in a physical job, and care about things like hygiene, detail – in anything from serving food to cleaning a bathroom – and working efficiently. If you’re in a customer service role, on the other hand, the focus will be on getting on with people and making sure they have a good experience.
No-one expects you to arrive with all your skills in place, though: you’ll develop them as you work and train in the industry. What you’ll need to start off with is a good attitude, a willingness to learn and a real passion for making sure the people you serve enjoy themselves.
Hospitality and travel careers
Here are just a few of the jobs available to Apprentices:
Food and drink – kitchen assistant, school cook, chef, waiter, bar person
Hotel and B&B – hospitality services assistant, housekeeper, receptionist, front of house staff
Travel and tourism – travel consultant, customer service adviser, bookings administrator, resort rep, cabin crew, activity instructor (sailing, swimming, children’s games etc.)
In almost all cases there are pathways to more senior roles, including management positions, as well as the chance to move between sites and work in different locations. You could also switch jobs with the seasons – perhaps being a beach resort rep in summer, and a housekeeper in chalets at a ski resort in winter.
To start getting in idea of apprenticeships and jobs in your area, visit careermap.co.uk. You can also get information from People1st, which can tell you more about the industry.
Alternatively, you might be able to get (or perhaps you already have) a job in the hospitality sector with an employer who offers apprenticeship schemes. Speak to them and see if it’s the right thing for you.
As well as apprenticeships, routes into the hospitality and travel industry include:
– Vocational qualifications / A Levels
– Scottish Vocational Qualifications
– Foundation Degrees (England and Wales only)
– Bachelors Degrees
Levels of Apprenticeship
There are generally three levels of Apprenticeship offered in these areas. The one you choose will depend on your previous experience and qualifications:
Intermediate – equivalent to GCSEs / Standard Grades
Advanced – equivalent to A Levels / Highers
Higher – equivalent to Foundation Degrees
An intermediate Apprenticeship takes two years to complete, then you can continue for another year to achieve the Advanced level; a Higher Apprenticeship will then require additional time. If you don’t have the qualifications you need yet, a Traineeship can help fill in the gaps in your learning.
Life as a hospitality and travel apprentice
If you’re feeling hospitable and the industry appeals, an apprenticeship can be a great option. They normally last between two and three years, depending on the level you’re aiming for.
It’s never going to be dull working in this industry. You’ll meet lots of different people; build up a range of skills; be involved in anything from small, intimate gatherings to huge, fancy shindigs; and perhaps have the chance to travel the world while you’re at it.
There’s no one path through an industry as diverse as this one, especially when you consider that jobs are as varied as Assistant chef, Activity leader and Head of reception. There isn’t even a regular working day: while many jobs stick to office hours (usually around nine am to six pm), people in hospitality and travel might work late nights, early mornings, or alternate between the two.
You’ll be part of a team in any role in the industry. You might join a crew in a kitchen, a team of waiters, an office of travel agents…there are lots of options. The teamwork and communication skills you’ll pick up in any of these areas will really help you with whatever you do in the future, and you’ll also begin to learn about the working world, how to get along with people, and how to manage your time.
As well as this you’ll be developing technical skills relevant to your job, devised by your employer in partnership with your college. You’ll also take care of your own money – you’ll be getting paid, after all – and enjoy life outside of work. With excellent chances of progressing quickly to more senior roles, you could be well on the way to a fine career in no time.
You could work in…
Hotels and hostels
Bars and clubs
Find apprenticeships and jobs in the hospitality and travel industry near you at Careermap