Qualifications Wales announces new menu of qualifications in hospitality and catering

Qualifications Wales has published its decisions for post-16 vocational qualifications in hospitality and catering, following a public consultation. A new, streamlined menu of qualifications will be ready for learners from September 2027.

Wales’ natural beauty, varied landscape and rich culture draw visitors from across the globe. The hospitality and catering sector is there to welcome them, contributing £4bn to the economy. 

With over 165,000 people, including many young people, employed in the industry, and with its crucial role in the Welsh economy, it’s vital that learners can access high-quality, up-to-date and widely recognised qualifications. These are factors that have guided Qualifications Wales’ work as it has reached its decisions – which include: 

  • establishing a new streamlined suite of Made-for-Wales hospitality and catering qualifications at levels 1, 2 and 3 for both further education colleges and work-based learning – which will enable learners to progress in catering, food and beverage or both (hospitality services) 
  • the qualifications being offered using an open market approach, where more than one awarding body can design and deliver the qualifications - ensuring choice for centres, and streamlining the current offer 

Qualifications Wales will develop and publish approval criteria that awarding bodies will use to design the new qualifications. These will be ready for centres to begin preparing to deliver the qualifications from September 2026, with first teaching from September 2027. 

These decisions are the latest step in the regulator’s work to review qualifications in the travel, tourism, hospitality and catering sector. Going Places, Qualifications Wales’ review of the sector, found that travel and tourism qualifications generally met the reasonable needs of learners, whereas more substantial concerns were identified with the structure and range of those available in hospitality and catering. 

Qualifications Wales will also continue to designate existing specialist qualifications in subjects such as bakery and butchery, to ensure that learners can continue to take these. Together, this streamlined offer will provide choice for learners and centres, ensure consistency in content and quality, and equip Wales’ future workforce with the skills and knowledge that it needs to remain a great place to eat, play and stay. 

Announcing the decisions, Cassy Taylor,  Executive Director of Qualifications Policy and Reform at Qualifications Wales, said: 
“At the heart of these decisions is our conviction that learners should be able to take modern, industry-relevant qualifications that are recognised within Wales and beyond.  Having carefully considered feedback from stakeholders we believe that this new, streamlined suite of qualifications will meet our commitment to addressing the needs of employers in the fast-moving hospitality and catering sector, while preparing learners with the skills they need for successful careers.” 

Richard Bond, Founder, Sol Consulting, said: 
“The Going Places review highlighted the need for clearer learner pathways and revised content within the hospitality and catering sectors. The decisions taken by Qualifications Wales will create a new menu of qualifications, making it easier for learners and employers to navigate. The streamlined offer will ensure aspiring hospitality and catering professionals know exactly where to start, and have the opportunity to progress in this exciting industry.”  

Sandra Kelly, Skills Director at UKHospitality, said: 
“This new, streamlined qualifications offer will provide much-needed clarity for employers and ensure learners have the skills to help the industry thrive. A simpler qualifications model, with straightforward routes for progression, will help employers find the workforce they’re looking for, identify gaps and help develop their teams.” 

Arwyn Watkins OBE, President of the Culinary Association of Wales, said:  
“The hospitality and catering industry in Wales is dynamic and ever evolving. To help fuel future growth and opportunities, we need learners who are equipped with the latest knowledge and skills and can access qualifications that help them to develop. The new, streamlined suite of qualifications will help to do just that, as well as provide clarity for the sector as a whole. 

Gabi Wilson, Chef De Partie, Apprentice in Professional Cookery at Cambrian Training, said: 
“My apprenticeship in Professional Cookery has led to many different opportunities and has given me the chance to work with very talented chefs, tutors, and other apprentices and students. It’s great that Qualifications Wales will ensure learners in the future have the right qualifications available to them, that will be flexible and offer progression. Qualifications have helped develop and teach me new skills, preparing me for my future career in the hospitality industry.”  

Find out more and take a look at the full Decisions Report, Summary of Decisions Report and Updated Integrated Impact Assessment – all available here.