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How to inspire young people to choose a career in hospitality

Posted on 4 November, 2021


In 2021, young people have more choice than ever when it comes to choosing a career path. Regardless of the opportunities and perks of working in hospitality, misconceptions still linger about choosing to work in the sector. 

For some, a role in hospitality is only considered as a part-time role whilst in education - putting it out of the question as a long-term career choice. Additionally, the COVID-19 pandemic may have affected young people’s image of the industry with over half of the 355,000 hospitality workers that lost their jobs during the year up to March 2021 being under 25.

Although hospitality jobs tend to be high-pressured, no two days are the same which is part of the appeal. In addition to the day-to-day excitement, hospitality jobs offer transferable skills which allow employees to travel the world and create progression routes into management or specialist roles.

With the number of job vacancies in hospitality being propelled by recruitment issues, it’s more important than ever to reframe young people’s opinions of hospitality and showcase the benefits of a career in the industry.

The hospitality staff shortage presents a unique opportunity for employers to rethink their approach to the recruitment of full and part-time staff. We’re sharing our top three methods to help you encourage young people to pursue a career in the industry.

Showcase the career opportunities 

The hospitality industry offers a diverse range of careers, but young people need to be reminded of the opportunities that come with it. For example, the skills gained working in pubs, bars and hotels can be easily transferred to create the opportunity to work globally for airlines or cruise lines.

Showcasing the kind of career opportunities available will encourage young people to choose a career in hospitality. You can do this by:

  • Establishing a career map specific to your business. For example, show how a kitchen assistant can work towards a promotion to become a commis chef and then progress to head chef.

  • Hosting events where prospective employees can shadow more experienced hospitality leaders to observe the skills they’ve learnt to build a career in the role.

  • Engage with potential recruits online. This could be by either promoting careers via social media or creating a quirky careers page on your website that will help convert into job applications.

Network at grassroots level

Schools and colleges are excellent platforms to share industry insights and opportunities at grassroots level. Secondary school students in particular relish a break from their regular schedule of classes to get a taste of something new and exciting. Engaging with students can come in the form of:

  • Interactive demonstrations and challenges in cookery or alcohol-free mixology

  • Hosting ‘open days’ at your business for students to get a taste of life as a hospitality professional

  • Advertising job postings directly

  • Short interactive presentations including real stories on the good, the bad and the funny!

Reaching out at grassroots level will leave a positive long-term impression of hospitality, which can lead young people to choose it as a career. Businesses can also network with organisations like the Institute of Hospitality’s Youth Council to appeal to Generation Z - the hospitality industry’s dominant age demographic.

Offer nationally recognised qualifications as part of employment

Employers need to innovate and provide employees with more than just a wage, offering opportunities to improve their skill set and earning potential. 

Hospitality apprenticeships offer a broad range of entry level positions in food and beverage, events and sports, travel and tourism or wellness and leisure. Bringing awareness to the various career paths and the world that potential employees will have at their feet will highlight the narrative that hospitality careers offer more than a job. Our free Careers in Hospitality e-guide is an excellent resource to showcase the range of hospitality careers and training routes to your potential and current workforce.

In addition to equipping staff with relevant skills, with apprenticeships, employers will have a chance to discover hidden talent. Implementing a training programme with progression opportunities as part of a young person’s employment will help to create a motivated and committed workforce by giving them an incentive, reward and long-term vision.

Get in contact with our friendly team today to discuss how to offer career development to your team. 


It was great speaking to our account manager, Catherine, this afternoon and great to hear that HIT are being so supportive with our apprentices, I found the call very positive in a time of crisis, so thank you.

The Learner’s leaflet is great and being sent out to Apprentices and Line Managers following our communication last week providing a great follow up.

Jonathan Foot - Head of Apprenticeships, Compass Group

McMullen’s chose HIT as its sole external provider for Apprenticeships and vocational qualifications in early 2015 and since then we have found them a pleasure to work with.  Their expertise in this sector is superior and they have proven to be a professional and supportive partner who have a passion for learning and development, which matches our own organisation.

Amanda Walden – Training & Recruitment Manager, McMullen's

Encouraging our staff to improve their skills set and supporting them through apprenticeships and training programmes underlines our commitment to help them further develop their own careers. Offering the Level 4 Higher Apprenticeship also gives the Brend Group a point of difference which I’m convinced will help attract new members of staff in the future.

Andrew Mosedale - Group HR Manager, Brend Hotels

Our partnership with HIT has certainly made recruitment much easier in a very difficult labour market and gives us a point of difference in an increasingly competitive environment.  Kew Green has also benefited enormously from well trained, skilled and competent staff who contribute significantly to the ever improving and high levels of customer experience that our guests expect and deserve.

Andrew Tregenza - HR Business Partner, Kew Green Hotels

Apprenticeships allow us to give people a great opportunity to develop a career with us and learn a skill or trade that will accompany them throughout their career and life. We see progression to the Level 4 qualification as key to our strategy of providing development at all stages of an employee’s career with Harrison.

Alex Taylor - Training Manager, Harrison Catering Services

HIT Training has provided such an incredible support to us during lockdown, with regular webinar invitations, videocalls and engagement solutions. Our business focus shifted to learning and development and we managed to enrol 3 times more apprentices on training programmes than before!

Anastasia Talatzidou -L&D Manager, Gaucho


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