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Hospitality & Tourism careers

Public Services

Why work in public services?

When it comes to public service institutions, hospitality careers are all about catering and conferences. Hospitals, prisons, schools and army bases all need some form of foodservice provision to feed their hungry employees, soldiers, patients, inmates, or children.

Public sector conferences and events can often be prolonged and complex affairs. Therefore, they need to be managed effectively and catered for sufficiently with food and beverages.

What's different about public service hospitality?

Catering for public institutions can be a big challenge in comparison to running a small restaurant or serving food at fancy celebrity parties. There are often more mouths to feed and every plate of food has to conform to strict nutritional guidelines and be produced within tight budgets.

A career in public services catering can be very different to other catering jobs. You could be employed in a huge variety of contexts, such as:

  • Working as a chef in the army, providing wholesome food for troops on the front line
  • Rustling up plates of food for patients, doctors and nurses in a hospital
  • Serving food to hundreds of hungry children in a large school
  • Supervising the catering inside a prison.

Some conferences held by the government, political parties and public sector organisations can be rather large affairs. Just consider the magnitude of the Labour, Conservative and Liberal Democrat annual conferences that each cater for hundreds of people. Such events need to be planned, managed, and catered for effectively. Consequently, a wealth of people must be employed on these projects, including conference managers, caterers and waiting staff.

Some public service organisations, such as the Army, will employ their hospitality staff directly, as they may need to receive specialist and additional training.

However, many of these services may be contracted out to external companies at more competitive prices. As you can see, there are many routes you can take if you wish to pursue a career in this area of hospitality.

If you’d like to get some more information on catering, or you are interested in a career in conference management, head over to the relevant subsectors now! Before they all start banging their cutlery on the table…