Two of the UK’s largest hotel groups are backing a drive to encourage more ‘earn and learn’ training opportunities to be provided by businesses in the hospitality sector.
Hilton and Edwardian Hotels London are both supporting the call to action by training and skills campaign group, The 5% Club, in order to address a growing labour and skills shortage in the hospitality industry.
The drive comes as Hilton becomes the latest hotel group to join The 5% Club, which encourages companies to offer as many ‘earn and learn’ opportunities as possible. ‘Earn and learn’ opportunities are structured training programmes which give people the chance to work towards a qualification whilst being paid, such as apprenticeships and degree apprenticeships.
Edwardian Hotels London are already a member of The 5% Club. Founded by Balfour Beatty’s Group Chief Executive Leo Quinn, The Club has over 300 members across all sectors and size of business, all aspiring to reach 5% of their workforce in ‘earn and learn’ positions within five years of joining.
Lady Cobham CBE, Director General of The 5% Club explains:
“The hospitality industry is a key driver of growth for the UK economy, but with skills and labour shortages growing, it is facing a skills crisis and needs many more skilled employees. I believe providing more apprenticeships and training opportunities is the answer. Apprenticeships are available in a wide range of roles and offer a great way for people to enter the job market or re-skill. Additionally, apprenticeships are an attractive proposition for employees who want to gain new skills, train on-the-job and have the security of employment.
“For businesses, apprenticeships provide a skilled workforce with longevity. Our members with established apprenticeship programmes tell us that staff retention rates are significantly higher and that skilled employees obviously bring many economic benefits.”
“I would really like to encourage business leaders to consider how they can provide as many ‘earn and learn’ opportunities as possible, investing in skills to develop their own business, but also playing their part in the bigger picture, so that as a country, we can continue to grow the hospitality industry and compete successfully in global markets, particularly post-Brexit.”
The hospitality sector has a wide range of apprentice routes, including Hospitality Management, Food and Drink Service, Housekeeping and Professional Chef Apprentice programmes.
Kay Harriman, Senior Director, HR UK&I, Hilton: “The hospitality industry offers a rich variety of rewarding job opportunities to suit almost any ambition and skillset. But for those just starting out in this industry, structured training alongside paid, hands-on experience is often critical to build the necessary skills for a successful career. That’s why we are committed to increasing the number of ‘earn and learn’ opportunities we offer, ranging from apprenticeships through to graduate programmes and internships. We’re already well on track to increasing our apprentice intake from 131 to 200 by the end of the year, and are fully committed to reaching the goals laid out by The 5% Club.”
Caroline Marais, General Manager Human Resources, Edwardian Hotels London: “We strongly believe in the value of giving our Hosts practical training, to ensure that they have the experience and skills required to give our guests a world-class service. As the first hospitality group to join The 5% Club we have seen the positive impact the partnership has made, with graduates from Housekeeping, Front of House, and Food and Beverage gaining valuable insight into how the business is run, as well as confidence and accountability. We fully support The 5% Club’s purpose of encouraging our sector to offer as many practical training opportunities as possible and hope this drive will see a range of other hotels sign up to the initiative.”
For more information about The 5% Club or becoming a member, visit
For more information about apprenticeships in the hospitality sector, visit