Hospitality Courses: Key to Career Development

The tourism and hospitality industries have traditionally been confronted with the issue of attracting and retaining suitably qualified personnel, which has created a shortage of employees for many businesses within the sector. The availability of high quality employees has been recognised worldwide as the prime means for businesses in all industries to add value and gain competitive advantage in organisations and the marketplace. In response to this, Government and private institutions have created strategies, such as the New Zealand Tourism Workforce Strategy, to not only increase the appeal of the industry itself to potential employees, but to create logical pathways for those entering the industry, from education to career progression.

The fact that tourism is the world’s largest and fastest growing industry creates increasing pressure for businesses in the industry to have access to highly qualified applicants. According to the World Travel and Tourism Council, the activities of hiring, orientating, integrating, rewarding and retaining employees are the businesses key to success. Therefore, education will play a pivotal role in providing suitably qualified hospitality and tourism workers, which will form the base of future growth and productivity.

With higher educated personnel, the high employee turnover rate can be reduced. The effect of such turnover rates on businesses is profound, having a significant impact upon the productivity and profits of the organisation. Simply the costs of hiring and training new staff can be disabling. There is industry recognition that the tourism and hospitality industry requires to attract and retain highly qualified personnel to remain competitive. As a result, owners and managers of such businesses are faced with the realisation that educated and high performing employees must be rewarded and be presented with a clear and concise career pathway. This is creating new opportunities in the industry for those who have the necessary skills and qualifications behind them.

The relationship between hospitality educators, the industry and the student has become the focus of much research lately. Concerns by businesses that the students are entering the workforce without the necessary skills have been well voiced. This has given rise to a debate with regard to what graduates the industry requires and what the curriculum encompasses. In current research, there have been major discrepancies found between the perceptions of industry and academics on the knowledge, skills and competencies required by those entering the industry.

One main concern relates to the over theoretical nature of some hospitality courses, with a lack of practical training. Therefore, it is essential that the needs of the industry are taken into account when selecting an education provider, and ensure that as well as theoretical components to the course, that practical and real life examples and experience is offered. It appears that the key to success in the industry is to select a hospitality course that provides you with the practical knowledge to make an immediate impact on the productivity of the hospitality organisation, but with the educational background needed to further your career within the managerial side of the business.

About The Author

Sue specialises in marketing the Waiariki Institute of Technology. As Marketing Manager, Sue has over twenty years experience in marketing from retail and shopping centre management to tourism and tertiary education. She has a wealth of knowledge in marketing these various industry sectors and in particular meeting the challenges of marketing tertiary education.

Sue is an accomplished businesswoman, leader and goal focused manager, who likes to seek challenges from a high achieving team. She is set on achieving continual improved performance of Waiariki, providing a platform for growth, innovation, strong business networks and relationships, and exceptional customer service.

She holds a Diploma in Management from Christchurch Polytechnic. She participated in the Auckland University and NZIM Business Schools Managerial Excellence programme and gained the Certificate in Practicing Management. She also has holds the Building Owners & Managers Association (BOMA) Shopping Centre Management Diploma.

Sue is actively involved in her community, being a member of the Rotary Club of Rotorua Sunrise; representative of the ITPNZ Marketing Forum; member of the Rotorua/Taupo Industry Training Graduation; Rotorua Careers Committee; Association of Tertiary Education Management (ATEM) National Conference 2009 organising committee; and organising many of the sponsorships Waiariki is involved in.
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