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Catering & hospitality Career Pathways For School Leavers

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Overview

From cheffing in a Michelin starred restaurant to serving canapes and drinks at corporate events, the catering & hospitality industry serves up a wide variety of career opportunities for school leavers. The central theme of all job types, however, is to provide a delightful and unforgettable experience to the customer.

The industry is open to anyone, at any age - making it a reliable choice for school leavers who don’t want to go down the University route. In fact, it’s one of the most wide-ranging industries that you can choose to work in.

Those working in the industry will agree that the working hours can be long and tiring (its unlikely you’ll work 9-5), yet the fun and memories that you can bring to punters is the reason why so many people enjoy it. Additionally, the skills gained from one job type are easily transferable to another within catering & hospitality. This allows for endless amounts of career routes for young people, with some even taking their careers abroad to job opportunities in the sun or the slopes!

Catering & hospitality Jobs

TitleSalaryLocation

Skills

It goes without saying that to work in certain areas of this industry you’ll need specialist skills – for example, to become a Sommelier you’ll need to train up as one first and have the relevant amount of experience working within wines. Other roles, such as bar staff, require less experience as long as you’re comfortable to learn quickly while on the job.

In general, those in the industry benefit from having the following skills:

- Ability to Work Under Pressure
- Adaptability
- Attention to detail
- Critical Thinking
- Handling Pressure
- Patience
- Teamwork
- Verbal Communication

Progression opportunities

An apprenticeship will train you for a particular skill, for example working in a kitchen, so the kind of job you can get at this level will be quite obvious.

The catering and hospitality industry also empowers its workers to progress relatively quickly because of the nature of the job. It’s a fast-paced and busy working environment, and so you’re likely to be entrusted with a lot of responsibility early on. This provides workers with an opportunity to prove their ability to successfully complete the tasks that they’ve been allocated – including quickly dealing with any problems that arise along the way.

Career development

The catering and hospitality industry is very practical, meaning you’ll rapidly gain new skills by dealing with unique situations on a daily basis. Your superiors can also provide mentoring and advice for your career development but will also encourage you to draw upon initiative, common sense and your problem-solving abilities.

Earning potential

The National Minimum Wage for an apprentice under the age of 19 is £3.70 per hour. After this, you’ll earn around £150- £240 per week. However, what you are paid will depend entirely on your employer.

When starting out in the industry (even after your apprenticeship) your wage is likely to be modest, but due to the responsibilities placed upon you and skill required you could see your salary increase relatively quickly.

It’s not an easy task to calculate the average salaries of professionals within the industry because the job roles range so broadly. However, below are a few typical salaries that you could expect to earn:

Catering Manager - £22,200
Head Chef - £27,000
Kitchen Assistant - £13,400
Hotel Manager - £35,900
Concierge - £19,600
Restaurant Manager - £23,000
Hotel Receptionist - £17,000
Flight Attendant - £21,000

Types of jobs in Catering & hospitality

Qualification requirements & subjects to study

To get a job in catering and hospitality as a school leaver, it’s a good idea to undertake a vocational qualification. A diploma, certificate or short course can give you the practical skills you need to get a job in this sector.

Organisations such as the Professional Association for Catering Education, as well as colleges, can provide these qualifications.

Alternatively, you could consider completing an apprenticeship in the industry, of which there are many! This will see you continue your education at college while earning a salary as you get some practical experience within a catering and hospitality business.
Knowledge of the catering and hospitality industries and previous experience working within it are of huge benefit when applying for courses or apprenticeships – so if you’ve got hotel, bar, catering, events or any other work experience, shout about it!

Industry Bodies

Institute of Hospitality
Professional Association for Catering Eduction
British Hospitality Association
Hospitality Guild
UK Hospitality
The Nationwide Caterers Association

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