Hitherto TiO2 is the most popular catalyst for photocatalytic H2 generation and reduction of organic pollutants due to its chemical inertness, high activity, and abundance. In this work, ordered mesoporous carbon CMK-8 supported TiO2 nanoparticles loaded with non-noble metal Ni, denoted as Ni[sbnd]TiO2@CMK-8 are fabricated for application in photocatalytic H2 generation. Our results demonstrate that the developed composite exhibit exceptional photocatalytic activity for H2 generation (3556 μmol g−1) under 300 W Xe lamp irradiation (with an external quantum efficiency of 37.9%), which is around 10 times higher than pure TiO2 and 4 times that of TiO2@CMK-8. The enhanced photocatalytic performance is attributed to the well-dispersed TiO2 in the ordered mesoporous carbon structure of CMK-8. The performance is boosted by the black body-like light absorbance of CMK-8 and plasmonic effect of Ni. Enhanced UV–visible light absorbance, large surface area and the loaded Ni metal synergistically improve the charge-carrier kinetics to attain highly efficient photocatalytic H2 generation. The Ni[sbnd]TiO2@CMK-8 composite shows enhanced activity for the reduction of 4-nitrophenol as well.