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#NAW2023 Skill gaps in Hospitality: Could you be keeping more staff?

By Alan Mulrooney, Senior Business and Apprenticeships Sales Executive at GC


The great thing about having time off over the festive period is it gives an opportunity to catch up with friends from far and wide that we always say we will meet ‘more often’ but rarely actually get around to doing so – life seems to come at us so quickly, doesn’t it. 

This year I learned that almost all of my friends from my days in the leisure and hospitality sector have since moved on and changed careers and it really got me thinking about why this is and what has caused some very talented people to leave such a fantastic industry that they loved. 

The answer was one that didn’t surprise me but did disappoint me – career progression! It is well documented that there is high turnover within the sector, in August 2022 The Caterer noted that 6% of staff leave EACH MONTH and ONS data shows that vacancies in the industry are up 83% from the same period in 2019. (Clearly, the legacy of the pandemic caused lots of people to leave that have not since returned, leaving a massive skills gap.)

What I have been told by friends seems to be reflected in data and research also and this is that, broadly speaking we are very good at training technical and operational skills but sometimes lack the wider leadership development needed to be successful as we move up the ladder. 

According to the Institute of Hospitality “The new leadership career path is commercial, not operational” which supports the point that skills gained from working in F&B, FOH and operations are maybe no longer enough (on their own) and need the ‘human’ factors of leadership and a more commercial acumen to enable leaders to achieve in the current market. 

Certainly from my friends perspective, if there was more leadership skills training to support their career development they would much more likely still be in the industry today. They were amazed to learn that there are a range of such apprenticeship programmes available to existing employee’s and surprised that more businesses don’t take advantage of these as an incredibly cost effective way to upskill and retain their teams. 

As part of National Apprenticeship Week and beyond maybe we need to do more to educate on these opportunities and support businesses from all sectors to reduce turnover and increase productivity and engagement. 


When it comes to developing management and leadership skills, we offer a range of apprenticeships from Level 3 to Level 5. Those courses are usually best suited for people who are currently within an organisation and looking for development with future promotion in mind.  

Team Leader/Supervisor Level 3 apprenticeship is perfect for junior leaders or managers with responsibility for supporting, managing and developing team members, managing projects, planning and monitoring workloads and resources 

In the Hospitality sector it works well for training either younger people who are looking for development so they can get onto a career ladder or to upskill experienced people looking to underpin their experience with the relevant knowledge, skills and qualifications so that they can get that next step up.  

Experienced middle managers looking to develop their strategic skills and understand themselves better as leaders will benefit from our Level 5 Operations/Departmental Manager apprenticeship that helps build up skills and knowledge in strategic planning, creating and delivering operational plans, managing projects, leading and managing teams, managing change, financial and resource management, talent management, supporting people through coaching and mentoring. 

To find out more about our apprenticeships, visit: 

If you have any questions, please contact our Employer Training & Apprenticeships team on or 0345 155 2020 


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Our industry-standard facilities and experienced teaching team provide our students with the skills businesses truly need.

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0345 155 2020

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