Hospitality and catering have been added to the Department for Education’s Lifetime Skills Guarantee which offers fully funded further education courses for adults without A-Levels or equivalent qualifications.

The move has been welcomed by UKHospitality and the British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA), who have both been campaigning for their inclusion since the initiative was launched in April this year.

The free courses, available to those aged 19 or over, include Level 3 qualifications and are paid for by government through the National Skills Fund.

The hospitality and catering courses now available include: Level 3 NVQ Diploma in Professional Cookery, Level 3 Diploma in Food and Beverage Service Supervision and Level 3 NVQ Diploma in Hospitality Supervision and Leadership.

Kate Nicholls, chief executive, UKHospitality, said announcement was “a fantastic reflection of industry and government working collaboratively to deliver workable employment and skills solutions”.

“The addition of hospitality and catering qualifications to the 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.

“Despite being the nations’ third highest pre-Covid employer, our sector currently faces an acute skills and staff shortage. Hopefully today’s announcement, hot on the heels of a bespoke Hospitality Strategy, can be one of many steps towards upskilling our workforce and allowing people to experience the wonderful, fulfilling roles that hospitality has to offer.”

The BBPA said the inclusion of these courses would help the pub sector as it recovers from the pandemic.

Chief executive Emma McClarkin said: “Our pubs are on the search for new talent to nurture and develop. People using the Lifetime Skills Guarantee for a hospitality or catering qualification will have the opportunity to work in a sunrise industry and begin a rewarding and fulfilling career that can see them rise very quickly to running their own pub.

“For existing talent in our pubs, the inclusion of these new qualifications will help enable them to upskill as part of their career development.”