How apprenticeships can benefit the hospitality industry

By Sophie Witts contact

- Last updated on GMT

Apprentices can help address a number of issues in the industry
Apprentices can help address a number of issues in the industry

Related tags: Young people, Apprenticeship

As hospitality businesses get behind National Apprenticeship Week BigHospitality examines how the schemes can benefit different sectors of the industry.

Apprentices in the hospitality and catering sectors deliver an average positive net gain of £5896 per annum to their employers, compared to an average £1670 per annum net gain for apprentices across England, research by the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) has found. Pubs, restaurants and hotels all stand to benefit from the schemes.


UK restaurants could gain an additional £1.4bn in revenue by employing apprentices, according to a CEBR report released this week (9 March).

The Benefits of Apprenticeships to Businesses report found that consumers prefer to eat in restaurants that employ apprentices, and one in four are prepared to pay an average 1.8 per cent extra for a two-course meal.

Two-thirds of the public perceived apprenticeships as contributing to society and providing opportunities for young people, and 5 million consumers were more likely to make a purchase from an apprentice employer.

Scott Corfe, co-author of the report, said: “This report proves that hiring apprentices has a hugely positive impact on employers themselves. Not only do apprentices contribute to the productivity of a company from day one, but consumers are more likely to switch to brands and firms that employ apprentices.”


Hotel group Accor has committed to doubling the number of its UK apprentices to 300 by the end of 2016, it was announced today (10 March).

Over the past ten years 500 apprentices have complete their training with the company. Since 2012 Accor has invested £2.5m in training and development in the UK, and currently employs 150 apprentices.

Sandra Kelly, head of education at Whitbread, told BigHospitality that apprenticeships were a key way of tackling recruitment issues in hospitality.

She said: “Since 2010 we’ve taken on 1100 apprenticeships and have seen huge benefits to the business. Individuals have a high level of engagement and 34 per cent gain a promotion within 15 months. Some of our higher apprentices will be running their own hotels within six months of finishing their course, and then mentoring their own young students on work experience." 

Whitbread are trying to challenge the often negative stereotype of working in the industry.

Kelly said: "We’re working really hard to change the perception of hospitality in the eyes of young people, teachers and all those who give guidance to young people. We have trained up all our management in Premier Inn to give presentations and talks about the hospitality sector in their local schools, and we are building relationships with Jobcentre Managers so they have got a better understanding of the world of hospitality.

“I think it’s really important to understand that university isn’t right for all young people and what is unique about the hospitality sector is that you can leave school and at quite a young age be managing a team of 40-50 people."

Pubs and bars

Apprenticeships in the pub and bar industry are being used to combat the issues of high staff turnover and a shortage of chef skills in the sector.

Admiral Taverns, Greene King, Fuller’s, Stonegate Pub Company, Sprint Pub Company and Whiting and Hammond have all pledged their support.

The British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA), British Institute of Innkeeping (BII) and Perceptions Group have all joined forces to attract the next generation of pub chefs to the industry​. BII has launched a Level 2 Chef Apprenticeship qualification in an effort to standardize chef skills across the industry.

Keith Knowles, chairman of the Perceptions Group and CEO at Beds and Bars said: “Apprenticeships are often a vital first step for many young people, enabling them to learn valuable workplace and practical skills. With companies like Spirit Pub Company announcing a further 600 new Apprentices by July, in addition to the 750 qualified and the 630 who are already working towards the Level 2 Apprenticeship within their company, this shows that we offer a pipeline to successful careers for those young people who have the drive and ambition to succeed.

“I would ask that any employer in licensed hospitality that is planning to employ young apprentices, between now and the end of the year, take time to register on the pledge website.”

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