Jill makes Public Sector Catering’s ‘Most Influential’ list


Jill Whittaker, Executive Chair of HIT Training Ltd, has been named as one of the Top 20 ‘most influential’ people in public sector catering.

The list, released by Public Sector Catering Magazine, comprises of people who are leading lights in the industry based on their ability to represent the concerns of people working in the sector, as well as their capacity to drive change.

The list was drawn up by a panel of expert judges at the end of 2023 and included those working in schools, universities, hospitals, the care sector, prisons and catering colleges.

On receiving the accolade, Jill said: “Public sector catering is an often overlooked but absolutely essential part of the catering industry. It has great breadth as well as depth, feeding many thousands of people in hospitals, schools, care homes and other public facilities, often under extreme funding constraints.

“The people in this sector are passionate about providing their service users with interesting, tasty, ethically sourced, and nutritious meals, and I am immensely proud that HIT Training has, for almost eighteen years, partnered the sector to ensure it has the essential skills it needs. Im delighted to have been recognised as an influencer in the sector and look forward to continuing to support staff attraction and retention through career training and development.”

On 14th December, this year’s Top 20 ‘most influential’ people in public sector catering met at the House of Commons to discuss key issues facing the sector, and to celebrate with a lunch cooked by Mark Hill, the executive chef at the House of Commons, and his team which includes four apprentice chefs.

“The food was exceptional,” said Jill, “and Mark should be very proud of his kitchen brigade.”

Jill was recognised for co-founding HIT Training Ltd in 2006 and her passion for apprenticeships as a way of developing individuals and providing businesses with the skills they need.

She was named Institute of Directors’ Director of the Year for the Southeast and London, and is listed in the Shine Awards 100 Most Influential Women in Hospitality as well as the Association of Catering Excellence’s (ACE) top 50 most influential women in food service.

HIT employs 350 staff supporting more than 10,000 apprentices and 4,000 employers each year. Jill is a Fellow of the Institute of Hospitality, the Hospitality Professionals Association (HOSPA), the British Institute of Innkeeping and the Royal Society of Arts. She was awarded an OBE for outstanding services to apprenticeships in hospitality, care and management, and the Franca Knowles Live Your Life Award by the British Institute of Innkeeping in 2023.


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