John Hyde CBE

Joint Executive Chair

John Hyde’s greatest achievement in over 40 years of work-based learning and apprenticeship training has been giving life-changing opportunities to thousands of young and old employees.

“Whether it’s a school leaver or a senior manager, training and qualifications boost confidence, provide new skill sets, improve career and promotion prospects and increase earning potential,” says John.

“On the flip side, employers gain skilled, motivated staff which in turn increases their productivity, professionalism and profitability.

“HIT’s overwhelming success is down to the thousands of young people and employees gaining skills through our state-of-the-art training programmes.”

Co-founding HIT in 2006 with Jill Whittaker, John and Jill built HIT to become the leading national specialist training and apprenticeship provider of choice, training over 200,000 learners from 20,000 employer sites across the country.

John’s reputation in the sector – and his personal founding of the training sector’s Association of Employment and Learning Providers (AELP) – was rewarded in February 2017 when he received the CBE for ‘services to education in the hospitality industry’.

John’s first experience of the hospitality sector came when he left school at 16 to join the British Transport Commission Hotels management scheme, where he developed his passion for the industry. After two years, he returned to education at Birmingham University.

On graduating, he joined the United Nations in the Democratic Republic of Congo for four years with the United Nations Bureau of Social Affairs (UNBSA). He returned to the UK to further education commissioning and running youth, community and sports centres in Surrey and South London.

John then moved to Brighton to pursue his first love, hospitality. After selling his small restaurant chain, John became involved with the Youth Training Scheme (YTS) across the South East, London and East Anglia working for the Hotel and Catering Industry Training Board (HCITB).

In 1993, John founded Hospitality Plus. It became the largest hospitality training company in the country, operating from 40 sites and employing around 500 staff. It trained some 20,000 young people annually in the hotel and catering industry.

John sold Hospitality Plus in 2001 but five years later, the Government introduced their ‘Train to Gain’ programme.

Seeing this as a massive opportunity for the hospitality industry, John was straight on the phone to former finance director, Jill Whittaker (fondly known as his work wife).

He said: “How about we start again?”

HIT Training was born.

John is now an honorary fellow of the Institute of Hospitality. He has led HIT through multi-site change management, taking the company from Train to Gain to apprenticeship framework programmes, then traineeships and now as an early adopter of apprenticeship standards.

In true HIT style, John takes it all in his stride.

He refers to his CBE as a tribute to HIT staff who dedicate their working lives to delivering apprenticeships and upskilling the country.

“That’s why we walk tall as the best of the best in training,” says John.