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Ways in

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Food and drink preparation and service

  • Entry is possible at all levels. While some vacancies such as bar work and fast food service are open to people who have few formal qualifications, but who can demonstrate a reasonable level of literacy and numeracy and good customer service skills, other roles such as chef and restaurant catering management  usually require job related qualifications. However, you may be able to train at work for qualifications as part of an Apprenticeship.
  • Employers want candidates who have strong personal and team working skills..
  • For bar work - minimum working age is normally 18. Most employers arrange on-the-job training but college courses (such as in food and drink service) could be useful.
  • For restaurant and catering manager - the usual way is to study for a higher education course and enter as a trainee manager or work your way up.
  • Chefs sometimes start without any formal qualifications and learn their skills in the kitchen (learning food preparation, basic cookery etc) but others take full time qualifications, such as a diploma in professional cookery. Trainees may specialise e.g. in patisserie. 

Front of House jobs

  • Some vacancies, such as door attendants and porters, may be open to people without formal qualifications. Others, such as hotel receptionist or managers, often require job related qualifications and experience. It may be possible to train at work for qualifications as part of an Apprenticeship.
  • Door attendants are often over 18 and experience of customer service is an advantage. Working as a porter can be a good starting point.
  • Hotel managers may need a foundation degree, a Higher National Certificate/Diploma, a degree or postgraduate qualification in a relevant subject, such as hospitality management. Some people may start without a degree or other qualification and work their way up through other hotel jobs, combining on-the-job training with taking external courses.


  • Most employers arrange on-the-job training and many of the large companies provide in-house training courses.
  • Many housekeepers start out with few or no formal qualifications, and it is not unusual for people to work their way up from the position of hotel/accommodation room attendant or cleaner. Many employers want to see some evidence that applicants are good organisers and communicators. The minimum age is usually 18 (although entry before this age is possible through an Apprenticeship).
  • Some housekeepers have HNCs/HNDs, foundation degrees or degrees in subjects such as hospitality or hotel and catering management.
  • Room attendants often start out with few or no formal qualifications. Employers look for people who are honest, hardworking and reliable.

Venue and events management

  • Conference and banqueting assistants don't need particular qualifications although a hospitality qualification is regarded as useful. It is possible to move into conference and banqueting after gaining experience in a junior role within a hotel or conference facility.
  • Conference and banqueting managers/events organisers usually need experience in the hospitality industry together with a professional qualification, preferably at HND level or above. e.g. in events management, conference and exhibition management, or hospitality.


For courses in higher education, see UCAS

For courses in schools and colleges, see UCAS Progress

For Apprenticeship information, including vacancies, see the National Apprenticeship Service