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Hospitality and Catering (Finally) Added to List of Free Level 3 Qualifications

Author: Matthew Przyborowski

Published date: 2021/08

Prs Blog

In excellent news for the sector, hospitality and catering have finally been added to the government’s list of free level 3 adult courses. 

The £95 million National Skill Fund Scheme officially launched in April and features almost 400 level 3 courses available for free for anyone aged 19 or over who don’t already have a level 3 qualification.

Industry insiders were outspoken in their surprise that hospitality and catering were omitted from the list when the scheme was first announced in December 2020. At the time, education and skills policy manager for the Food and Drink Federation (FDF), Mark Corbett, said: “We are one of the sectors that has kept the nation fed throughout the pandemic. We were hailed by the government as hidden heroes, but then for courses in our sector to be missed off, and then to be asked to go through this quite difficult process of getting courses added, is disgruntling.”

Corbett claimed that the Department for Education (DfE) was confusing food manufacturing with hospitality and catering, which explained the sector's omission, while engineering and manufacturing technologies sectors were included.

The following months saw lobbying from the FDF, British Beer & Pub Association and UKHospitality, to name a few, which resulted in the July announcement that 42 additions would be made to the list, including the following hospitality and catering courses:

  • Level 3 NVQ Diploma in Professional Cookery (Patisserie and Confectionery) 

  • Level 3 NVQ Diploma in Professional Cookery

  • Level 3 NVQ Diploma in Hospitality Supervision and Leadership

  • Level 3 Diploma in Food and Beverage Service Supervision

  • Level 3 Diploma in Advanced Professional Cookery (Kitchen and Larder)

  • Level 3 Diploma in Professional Patisserie and Confectionery

  • Level 3 Diploma in Advanced Professional Cookery

  • Level 3 Advanced Technical Diploma in Professional Cookery (450)

  • Level 3 Certificate In General Patisserie and Confectionery

  • BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma in Hospitality (QCF)

  • Level 3 Diploma in Advanced Professional Cookery

  • Level 3 Diploma in Professional Patisserie and Confectionery

The inclusion of hospitality and catering courses to the list is highly welcome in an industry facing ongoing skills shortages. A recent survey from UKHospitality suggested a shortfall of 188,000 staff across the sector. Kate Nicholls, chief executive of UKHospitality, said: “The addition of hospitality and catering qualifications to free courses for jobs as part of the Lifetime Skills Guarantee is a hugely positive and timely development for hospitality, and something for which UKHospitality has lobbied for some time.” 

Nicholls expressed that the announcement is “one of the many steps” towards upskilling the workforce and allowed people to experience the “wonderful, fulfilling roles that hospitality has to offer”. She concluded: “Our sector will be at the forefront of the skills and job-led recovery that this nation needs, and this initiative will help people transition into our sector.” 

You can view the complete list of the available level 3 courses here.

Are you looking for hospitality staff?

If you’re looking to secure hospitality and catering staff for your business, get in touch with the experts at PRS. Call us on 0207 553 5660 or email us at