Hospitality and travel

Where work finishes for most of us, it’s only just beginning for people employed in hospitality and travel. They’re the ones who run the restaurants, serve us in pubs and bars, arrange our holidays, and make sure we get there safely.

There are some fantastic opportunities in this sector. Fancy serving cocktails in a trendy nightspot? Want to jet off around the world as a holiday rep or aircraft cabin crew? Or maybe you’d like to feel the buzz of working in a busy kitchen during the Saturday night rush.

An apprenticeship in this section could lead you into any of these careers and more. Of course, not everyone works as a tour guide or surfing instructor. There are many less glamorous but equally vital roles: travel agents who arrange people’s holidays, line cooks, baggage handlers, customer service assistants and so on.

Working in this sector isn’t one long party. There are often long, antisocial hours, you might be away from home for long stretches and, of course, you may be doing your job while other people are enjoying themselves. But the work is varied and interesting and offers a different lifestyle from the 9 to 5 crowd, which suits many people.

Hospitality and travel is big business in the UK, but opportunities don’t end at our shores. Worldwide, the opportunities are limitless. An apprenticeship in this sector could be your passport to a Caribbean island, or a casino in Monte Carlo. But don’t think the work will be a holiday on the beach—jobs in these industries are hard work, often involving long hours that play havoc with your social life. If you have an outgoing personality and know how to help people enjoy themselves, you could go far—in more ways than one.

At a glance

  • The hospitality and tourism sector employs 7% of the working population in the UK
  • The sector is mainly made up of small businesses—46% employ fewer than five people
  • There are almost 27,000 individual passenger transport and travel businesses operating across the UK

Industry figures from


  • Have a lot of stamina
  • Have good people skills
  • Take care of your own appearance
  • Be a good listener and be sensitive to what people want
  • Be a good team worker
  • Have strong organisational skills
  • Be a good communicator

Useful contacts

BII—Professional body for the licensed hospitality sector

People 1st—Skills and development organisation for the hospitality, passenger transport, travel, tourism, leisure and retail industries

Hospitality Guild—Hospitality vacancies and training programmes

Apprenticeships in Hospitality and travel

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