Youth Hostels Association (England & Wales)


YHA (England & Wales) is serving an essential purpose by connecting others through on-the-job training.

For the last 90 years, YHA (England & Wales) has been on a national mission to provide hostel stays and experiences at over 150 sites throughout England and Wales. It works hard to enrich lives by striving to improve the physical health, mental wellbeing and life skills of all.

In 2019, YHA began a partnership with one of the UK’s leading providers of hospitality apprenticeships and vocational training, HIT Training.

Dawn Holden, Recruitment and Training Manager for YHA (England & Wales), said: “Aiming to create more employment and progression opportunities, we set ourselves an ambitious target to have 50 apprentices enrolled in one year. After paying into our government levy fund, we felt it was time to step up apprenticeship training within our organisation.

 “With clear planning and a structured approach to managers and those at our national office, we were delighted to partner with HIT Training. They took the lead and helped us plan to offer a range of apprenticeships to provide us with a well-trained, capable workforce.”

YHA (England & Wales) was excited to create structure and development opportunities in the hospitality industry and work towards its company mission.

Dawn said: “Despite the obvious challenges of the past 18 months, we’re really pleased to have implemented 45 apprenticeships throughout our business. Some of these include Level 2 Hospitality Team Member, Level 2 Facilities Services Operative and Level 3 Learning & Development Practitioner, where we’ve supported people to improve their career prospects with YHA (England and Wales) and beyond.”

Youth Hostels Association (England & Wales)

Youth Hostels Association (England & Wales)


Since introducing apprenticeships and prioritising training, YHA (England & Wales) has taken its investment to the next level by creating its own apprenticeship resources bank.

Dawn said: “In addition to having HIT Training’s resources at our disposal, we’ve created our own guides to support our apprentices, managers and mentors. These guides provide our apprentices with additional tools, and our leaders with guidance on how to make apprenticeship programmes work well within our business.”

Working towards the company’s vision of ensuring everyone has access to the benefits of adventure, for the first time and a lifetime,YHA (England & Wales) aims to encourage volunteering opportunities and work placements.

Dawn added: “We work with several partners to offer work placements and volunteering in the hospitality sector, these relationships are forged at national and local level with schools, colleges, and universities. These opportunities are a steppingstone to the world of hospitality and often lead to participants looking at further study and work opportunities in the industry, such as apprenticeships, as they see the benefit of the on-the-job support and training.”

YHA (England & Wales) also works hard to inspire growth in its business and the wider hospitality sector within local communities. In pursuit of this, it made the most of the government’s Kickstart scheme, helping to create job placements in the hospitality sector.

Dawn said: “Offering Kickstart placements in addition to recruitment with us has given the opportunity for new recruits to gain extended contracts, with the chance to enrol on apprenticeship programmes in the future. We’re delighted to have 10 placements underway, giving those in our local communities a steppingstone to the world of hospitality and long-term recruitment.”

With a range of training programmes and a mission to impact local communities, YHA (England & Wales) is serving an essential purpose by connecting others through on-the-job training.


Johnny Daws – Supervisor and Cellar Manager at The Gloucester Old Spot

Anyela Parkinson – Trainee Assistant Manager at Oakman Inns

Jessica Malandra – Floor Manager at Rhubarb Hospitality Collection

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