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Scottish hospitality apprenticeships: Embracing diversity and inclusion

09 Mar 2023
People 1st International

The business case for diversity, equality, and inclusion is stronger than ever.

In 2019, a study by McKinsey showed that companies in the top quartile for gender diversity on executive teams were 25 percent more likely to have above-average profitability than companies in the fourth quartile, and in the case of ethnic and cultural diversity, top-quartile companies outperformed those in the fourth one by 36 percent in profitability. [1]

For hospitality in particular, the effect on the customer experience can be profound. According to HGEM’s Accessibility in Hospitality Report, when asked how a customer would react to a disabled person being employed at a venue, 59% said it would impact their experience positively, 39% abstained, and 2% said it would impact their experience negatively.

Recruiting a diverse range of people and creating an inclusive culture equips organisations with a range of unique perspectives which are essential for tackling global challenges and pioneering global technologies through truly diverse collaboration.[2]

Apprenticeships are a great tool for helping to build a more diverse and inclusive workforce, giving people of all ages and backgrounds the opportunity to develop their potential.

Leading the way with embracing diversity and inclusion across the apprenticeship space in Scotland are hospitality apprenticeships.

With a good gender split, higher than national average representation across all frameworks for people with disabilities and ethnic and cultural diversity, hospitality apprenticeships are attracting a diverse pool of talent.

Building on this success, and to make the apprenticeship system more responsive to the opportunities and challenges created by the changing nature of work, apprenticeships in Scotland are undergoing changes.

The new approach to developing apprenticeships allows employers and employees to design apprenticeships to cover their sector or occupation, ensuring that they reflect what work looks like today and consider future skills and technologies.

Hospitality, customer service, retail and travel apprenticeships are being updated to ensure businesses have easier access to a steady pipeline of talent with the skills needed to meet the future demands of industry.

“Recruitment within the industry has never been as challenging as it is now, therefore this is the time to support apprenticeships in Scotland. It is an industry that is richer thanks to its diversity of teams and has always welcomed those with disabilities and from all cultures and ethnicities. The updating of the apprenticeship frameworks will only assist in supporting the valued pipeline of talent for this exciting industry.” – Gordon McIntyre, Founder of Hospitality Health.

The first stage in the process to redesign the apprenticeships received an outstanding response to the employee questionnaire. We’re now running a series of workshops to directly consider the views of employees and gather information on what they do every day in their job. This stage will enable the development of work profiles or work situations which reflect knowledge, skills and behaviours true to the job. These work situations are then used by a Technical Expert Group to develop an Apprenticeship Standard and Framework. To get involved email


We’re supporting Scottish Apprenticeship Week 2023 to show the positive impact work-based learning has on businesses, people and the Scottish economy.

This year’s theme is Unlocking Potential, with the aim of showcasing what individuals and employers can achieve through apprenticeships.

By unlocking potential and providing the skills employers want, apprenticeships support sustained employment, upskilling and a productive economy. To find out visit




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