Catering and Hospitality School Leaver Jobs - Careers Guide

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Welcome to the world of Gordon Ramsay, Jamie Oliver and the Hiltons! Think you’ve got what it takes to be the next Masterchef? Catering and hospitality might just be for you.Catering and hospitality

Think about the last time you hung out with your friends in town – did you get a burger and chips? Takeaway? Coffee and cake? Or what about the last holiday you went on – did you stay in a hotel? Did someone check you in, clean your room or bring up extra towels? The people who took your orders, made your food, helped you to your hotel room and cleaned up after you all work in the massive industry known as catering and hospitality.

What’s it all about? TOP ^

It can be more demanding than it sounds, but there's lots of flexibility in catering jobs and jobs in hospitality so it's perfect if you're looking for something temporary and want to make some quick cash. With training, you might decide this is the industry for you and become a hotel manager or top chef.

If you get into the catering and hospitality industry after leaving school, you'll be joining 1.7 million people who have jobs here. This includes waiting tables, working behind the counter at a sandwich or coffee shop, being a chef in a hotel or restaurant, cleaning rooms or office buildings, and even organising events.

Whether or not you decide to get qualifications to be a chef, manager or events planner, the basic people and organisational skills you'll gain will be a great basis for most jobs in retail and customer service.

Working in a hotel or restaurant can be done in shifts, so your hours may not always be 9-5, but you can usually take as many or as few shifts as you like. Part-time work is more likely in this sector.

You might be on your feet most of the time, running around the kitchen or between tables or cleaning from room to room. Or, you could be manning the telephone at a hotel reception area where you might stay in one spot, but need to be quick and efficient as you help people with their queries.

What will I earn? TOP ^

There are lots of job in this industry that pay by the hour – like waiting tables and working behind a counter – which can add up to around £10,000 or £11,000 per year. Trainee managers tend to get regular salaries starting from £12,000-£16,000. This can go over £20,000 with experience and training. New chefs start around £12,000 too, but can make up to £40,000 or £50,000 if they get a job running their own kitchen.

Where can I work? TOP ^

School leavers looking for roles in the catering and hospitality industry won’t be short of opportunities. The leisure and services industry is huge in the UK, with opportunities everywhere from chain restaurants and hotels to independent boutiques and critically acclaimed pop-up restaurants.

Look for opportunities in local media or apply to restaurants directly, or alternatively, look for school leaver programmes with large chains.

What skills will I need in catering and hospitality? TOP ^

It's really important that you like people – talking to people, helping people, making sure people have what they want. Teamwork is another big part of this, as you’ll often need to pitch in and help your colleagues when things are really busy. Being able to multitask and prioritise jobs is a key skill in moving up to management. School leavers should brush up on their communication skills.

Working in the hospitality and catering sector is without exception customer facing, which means that a variety of skills are essential. They include:

What entry level catering and hospitality jobs can I do? TOP ^

Catering and hospitality is an industry that naturally attracts lots of young people. School leavers can start out as waiters if they prefer to work front of house, or as kitchen porters and sous-chefs if they want to get into the kitchen.

Some entry level catering and hospitality jobs include:

  • Waiter
  • Kitchen porter
  • Sous-chef
  • Trainee manager
Browse all Catering and Hospitality jobs for this guide