Destination Coventry
Destination Coventry

Flagship pre-employment hospitality training scheme launches

A flagship pre-employment hospitality training scheme has launched in Coventry to support people of all ages to launch careers in the sector.

The ‘Step Into Hospitality’ programme will equip participants with the essential skills required to work in the hospitality industry.

Applicants must be over the age of 19, unemployed and living in Coventry, with the programme also being one of the first initiatives of its type to directly support over 50s into employment in hospitality.

It is a partnership between Destination Coventry, Coventry & Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce and PET-Xi Training, supported by UKHospitality.

Figures from UKHospitality show hospitality already employs 259,000 people in the West Midlands and the sector contributes £6.7 billion to the region’s economy.

Step Into Hospitality is aiming to fill employment and skills gaps across the sector, with learners receiving training in key subjects including customer service, food allergens, fire safety, food hygiene, first aid and teamwork, as well learning hands-on skills in areas such as barista, bar, front-of-house, kitchen and more.

An employer showcase is also being held at PET-Xi’s Metropolis Restaurant in Coventry city centre on Wednesday, August 23 to launch the Step Into Hospitality initiative.

Every learner that completes the 10-day programme is guaranteed an interview for a live vacancy with a range of high-profile hospitality businesses across Coventry.

Paul Jones, Managing Director of Destination Coventry, said: “This partnership is a major move for Coventry and will be crucial in supporting people with the skills they need to work in the hospitality industry.

“We started working with UKHospitality on this project last year, with the idea that short training courses can equip people with the skills they need to thrive in the industry.

“The programme will help young people to get the start they need for their career, but also reactivate the employment market for over 50s.

“After the pandemic, some over 50s chose to retire or leave full-time employment, however the cost-of-living crisis and other factors have changed those circumstances and there is now a desire from some of these individuals to get back into work, and hospitality is the ideal industry to do that.”

UKHospitality is the leading trade body for the sector, engaging with the highest levels of government to enact meaningful change for the sector and creating the best possible environment for businesses to operate in.

Sandra Kelly, Skills Director at UKHospitality, added: “The workforce challenges facing hospitality are no secret and it is essential that we develop new programmes to ensure a pipeline of great talent for the industry.

“There is a strong collaborative culture in Coventry and that makes it the ideal destination to launch this initiative. Step Into Hospitality has the backing of employers which is crucial, as only by working with employers can we be sure that training programmes are delivering the skills required. 

“We are working towards establishing a universal entry standard for hospitality, and programmes such as this will be the backbone of that standard.”

Step Into Hospitality received funding through the West Midlands Combined Authority via Black Country Training Group, and will be delivered by award-winning training provider PET-Xi Training, with hands-on work experience provided at its Metropolis Restaurant in Coventry.

Leia Welland, Head of Skills for PET-Xi Training, said: "We're thrilled to be partnering with UKHospitality and Destination Coventry, collaborating to empower Coventry residents with essential skills, knowledge and behaviours to succeed in the sector through our academy and training restaurant, Metropolis.

“Our shared goal is to establish a universal entry standard in the hospitality sector, fostering sustainable careers and partnering with local employers. Through our Step Into Hospitality Level 2 Programme and Level 3 in work progression courses, we're upskilling low-paid residents, bridging skills gaps, and paving the way for long-term employment growth and improved income prospects."

The programme is a national first and is also being supported by businesses in the city, which are committed to providing employment opportunities for those who complete the programme.

Businesses including Coventry Building Society Arena, Telegraph Hotel, No Ordinary Hospitality Management and Hotel Indigo have already backed the pre-employment scheme.

Michael Lyons, General Manager at Hotel Indigo, said: “We’re preparing to open our doors in November and this scheme will provide a platform to fill our vacancies with great people. Having the skills to hit the ground-running in hospitality is vital and we absolutely wanted to be involved in this initiative.”

Claire Collins, Head of HR at Coventry Building Society Arena, added: “We are always looking for talented people to join our team at the Arena, and this programme will support people with all the skills they need to contribute effectively right away.”

To find out more about the Step Into Hospitality employer showcase on Wednesday, 23 August call 02475 311 814 or email

To find out more about UKHospitality memberships and its benefits visit