The hospitality and catering sector

The hospitality industry is a major employer across Norfolk.  A career in hospitality can be very rewarding. If you like meeting people, are enthusiastic and organised then it could be for you.  There are plenty of entry level jobs from which you can move quickly up the career ladder to a management position and better earning power! Where could you work? How about beachfront cafe, hotel, cruise ship, conference centre, exclusive restaurant or local pub ... take your pick!


What is happening?

  • Between 2014 and 2024, the hospitality and tourism industry needs to recruit 1.3 million staff: 25% of those will be to new jobs and 75% to replace those who leave.
  • Around 29,000 people are employed in accommodation and food services in Norfolk - a rise on last year.
  • Chefs are in huge demand with over one quarter of businesses unable to find the right people. Employers are also struggling to recruit for front of house roles such as counter, table waiting and reception staff.  A course at college or an apprenticeship could be a good way to train to become a chef or to get into these and other roles.
  • Norwich is a major shopping destination with many stores, hotels and restaurants requiring hospitality staff.
  • Norfolk is a top destination for tourists and day visitors and attracting more is important to the future local economy.  This means improving the quality of accommodation and services and creating a longer holiday season which could lead to better and more permanent jobs.
  • Catering staff also work in schools, colleges, universities, larger offices and in many factories.
  • Digital technologies are driving new trends such as people renting their homes out to visitors, pop-up restaurants and takeaway services.

Skills and qualities

  • Customer awareness
  • Communication
  • Team working
  • Business skills
  • Problem solving
  • Leadership and management
  • Digital and ICT skills
  • Flexibility
  • English
  • Reliability
  • Creativity
  • Languages

Useful subjects

  • Catering
  • English
  • Business studies
  • Languages
  • History
  • Maths
  • Art & design
  • Drama
  • Psychology
  • Sociology

What could you earn?

Waiting staff £12,300 - £17,650
Kitchen assistant £9,800 - £21,400
Housekeeping supervisor £13,200 - £19,800
Chef £15,500 - £26,000
Bar manager £15,000 - £25,900
Travel agent £14,200 - £27,650
Exhibition organiser £18,850 - £33,550
Marketing officer £18,450 - £36,350
Web designer £20,050 - £39,050

Local employers


Pathways into this sector

Getting good grades in maths and English will help you to get into this sector and it's possible to progress quite quickly if you have the motivation.

At 16, options include A levels, an apprenticeship or a vocational qualification in an area such as professional cookery or hospitality supervision and leadership (levels 1, 2 or 3).  Entry requirements for apprenticeships can vary so check first.

At 18 or 19, you could study for a relevant degree at university, develop your skills through an apprenticeship or opt to train 'on the job'.

Gaining relevant experience, such as work experience, a paid job or voluntary work will also improve your chances of finding a job in this sector.

Alternative routes into this sector

If you don't yet have the skills, confidence or experience to progress into further education courses or get an apprenticeship in this sector, you could consider a traineeship or other short course - a course with work experience that can help prepare you for further education, work or an apprenticeship.

On Help You Choose you can find more information on courses, apprenticeships and other options. 

On the web