Working in hospitality with A levels (or similar)

If you have some experience and/or qualifications, you could be cooking in a pub, restaurant or large catering kitchen or training as a chef.

You could also work in a smart hotel, perhaps in reception or behind the bar.

Case study

James, bar assistant

I don’t like silver service. Holding those big dishes with one hand and serving food with the other is not easy. I prefer bar work...

James, bar assistant for a catering company

Example jobs

Kitchen manager
Running the kitchen, ensuring safety, hygiene and prompt service to customers.

Bar tender
Preparing and serving drinks, advising customers on wines, spirits and cocktails.

Commis chef
Trainee chef in a large restaurant or hotel kitchen.

Hotel receptionist
Taking bookings, checking guests in, dealing with queries.

Guest services officer
Welcoming cruise guests, dealing with enquiries.

Assistant manager
High level of interaction with employees, recruitment, training, quality control, reviews, carrying out disciplinary action, liaising between employees and higher management.

Approximate pay levels

Figures supplied as a guide only

Many people work freelance or are self-employed. This means that you will only be paid for the hours you work.

If you work for yourself, you will only be paid when you sell your work. It is common for people to do a number of different projects or jobs at a time to earn a living.

pay levels graph

Typical working conditions

Things you may need to know:

  • Work is likely to be very fast-paced.
  • You may be expected to work long hours and you will usually work shifts.

Qualifications needed

You will need some relevant experience, in a catering or customer service role.
Employers may be looking for a level 2 or 3 qualification in catering. They may ask that you have a food hygiene certificate (or they may provide training for this). You need to be customer-focused, business-minded and able to work in a team. For guest services roles, you may need a foreign language.

Career path

A commis chef can progress to chef de partie, running a kitchen area such as sauces or pastries. Other staff could become managers of their area, such as the bar, kitchen, catering service or reception. You could choose to move to a larger hotel or restaurant for experience or promotion. You may take up an opportunity to work overseas.

Useful links

Pearson is not responsible for content on external websites.

Wine and Spirit Education Trust

Find out about working with wines and spirits

Institute of Hospitality

Career and job seeking resources for the hospitality sector

Hospitality Guild

Plan your career in hospitality