HIT’s Executive Chair Jill Whittaker OBE wins award for ‘Outstanding Contribution to the Industry’

We’ve gone and done it again! This time HIT’s Executive Chair Jill Whittaker OBE has scooped the special award for Outstanding Contribution to the Industry at the Institute of Hospitality’s Annual Dinner & Awards 2024.

The event, attended by over 300 guests, took place at the Honourable Artillery Company’s HQ in London. Top talent from across the hospitality industry gathered to celebrate the winners and finalists, making it a night to remember.

Voted by IoH Fellows, Jill’s award recognises her pioneering contributions to the hospitality industry with judges commenting that Jill had given unwavering support to the profession and helped thousands of young people into the industry through apprenticeships.

They added:

Her commitment to the industry and its professionals over many years has been and continues to be outstanding.


Jill co-founded HIT Training Ltd as an independent training provider in 2006 and has worked in apprenticeships for over 25 years, making it her mission to open up learning opportunities for everyone, regardless of their background or needs. 

To date, Jill has supported over 100,000 people to develop their careers in hospitality. The last year was particularly outstanding as HIT broke new ground in accessibility to apprenticeships through its SEND exemption scheme aimed at supporting learners with low English and maths levels. This is now a permanent initiative and all apprentices can be assessed for extra support if required.

HIT also launched a groundbreaking partnership with The Clink Charity, marking the first time that apprenticeships have been delivered to serving prisoners. With the first learners now on the programme, HIT provides vocational training in hospitality and a pathway to employment upon release, offering prisoner apprentices a fresh start.

Among the winners

  1. Jill Whittaker OBE FIH, HIT Training Ltd – Outstanding Contribution to the Industry 2024 nominated by the Institute’s Fellows
  2. Kellie Rixon MBE FIH – The Institute of Hospitality CEO’s Award 2024 sponsored by Amandla Wines
  3. Dorchester Collection –Talent Development Team of the Year 2024 (Large Business) sponsored by Splendid Hospitality
  4. Leonardo Hotels UK & Ireland – The Gregory De La Peña-Hall FIH Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging Employer of the Year 2024 (Large Business) sponsored by EP&T Global
  5. Compass Group UK & Ireland – Best Educational Programme 2024 Large Business) sponsored by Keenan Recycling
  6. The Clink Charity – Best Educational Programme 2024 (SMEs) sponsored by Keenan Recycling


IoH CEO Robert Richardson FIH MI said: 

Our annual Awards and Dinner is always a very special occasion. It allows us to reflect on the fantastic achievements of our profession. From small to large organisations and from entry-level to established talent, this year’s winners have demonstrated that anybody from any background can thrive and excel in hospitality. I am incredibly proud to be part of such a talented industry of professionals. What they do every day, through their skills, passions and commitment to excellence, is what makes this industry great.

The event highlighted the significant contributions and achievements within the hospitality industry, showcasing the dedication and hard work of individuals and organisations committed to excellence and innovation.

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