Professional development in hospitality and events

December, 2015

Gain advanced understanding of the hospitality or events industry and professional recognition for specific job roles through postgraduate study and training

Do I need to do postgraduate study?

For many jobs in the hospitality sector, a postgraduate degree isn’t a requirement. However, if your first degree isn't related to hospitality you may wish to consider postgraduate courses in hospitality or hotel and catering management.

Similarly, there are numerous Masters degrees in events management. You might also wish to consider professional postgraduate courses in sales and marketing, such as those from the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM).

It is worth bearing in mind that some employers, such as the Spirit Pub Company, offer employees financial support to study professional qualifications, such as a Masters in Multiple Retail Leadership.

For more information on entry requirements and career development in the hospitality and events management sector, see job profiles.

To find postgraduate hospitality and events management courses in the UK, search courses and research.

Should I join a professional body?

For the majority of job roles in this sector, joining a professional body is voluntary, but it can be valuable to demonstrate your expertise and enhance your status within the field.

Other advantages of membership of a professional body include:

  • access to training, events and qualifications;
  • opportunities to network and build contacts;
  • the chance to keep up with the latest industry news.

Which professional qualifications are recognised in the sector?

  • Academy of Food and Wine Service (AFWS) - the professional body for front of house food and beverage services. Offers advice and training for bar and restaurant managers and waiters.
  • Association for Conferences and Events (ACE) - for individuals and companies involved in all aspects of event organisation. Offers discounted training from top providers.
  • Association of British Professional Conference Organisers (ABPCO) - for conference and event organisers delivering not-for-profit and association conferences. Members gain access to relevant training courses, events and seminars, while they also provide opportunities for networking.
  • British Hospitality Association (BHA) - a members association for the hospitality and tourism industry, for those working in hotels, foodservice, clubs and visitor attractions.
  • British Institute of Innkeeping (BII) - the professional body represents pub owners and managers working in the licensed hospitality industry, with member benefits including advice, support and access to events, qualifications and training.
  • Confederation of Tourism and Hospitality (CTH) - a professional awarding body for qualifications in tourism and hospitality. It offers management qualifications from foundation (Level 3) to postgraduate level (Level 7) diplomas and professional skills programmes in areas such as culinary arts and team leadership.
  • Hospitality Guild - as well as being a careers portal for the latest job vacancies in hospitality, it also offers a list of accredited training providers and interactive tools for those seeking to further their careers.
  • Institute of Event Management (IEM) - for event managers working in the events industry to gain professional accreditation, enhance their skills and find resources for continuing professional development (CPD).
  • Institute of Hospitality (IOH) - a professional membership body for managers and aspiring managers working and studying in the hospitality, tourism and leisure industries. The organisation offers a range of membership services including qualifications in hospitality, networking events and a raft of online resources.
  • People 1st - the sector skills council for customer-facing industries including hospitality and tourism. Their careers portal presents opportunities to jobseekers and those interested in further training.