Setting Training and Education Standards in Tourism
The Australian tourism industry is rapidly enhancing staff professionalism. This move involves setting increasingly rigorous training standards for travel professsionals. In company with this, tertiary institutions are collaborating to set standards for teaching, learning and assessments in key tourism skills.
Last week, I was in Brisbane for the mid-year meeting of the Council of Australasian Tourism and Hospitality Educators. CAUTHE is the association representing tourism educators at degree granting tertiary institutes which include universities, some private colleges and TAFE. One of the major current projects which CAUTHE supports is called Calibration of Acadamic Standards. The core aim of the project is to establish common standards of thematic inclusions, assessment criteria and graduate attributes in final year tourism, hospitality and events subjects.
The “Setting the Standard” project has been led since 2013 by Dr Paul Whitelaw (William Angliss College, Melbourne) and Dr Pierre Beckendorff (University of Queensland). In essence, each subject is required to addresss five key learning domains:
* Service and experience design * Interdisciplinary Enquiry * Collaboration * Problem Solving * Professional responsibility
There are 15 Australian institutions working together to establish core common standards and benchmarks. As all of the tourism educators involved have now discovered, the quest to establish some common approaches to subject design and assessments among tourism educators is quite a challenge. If you get ten tourism educatirs in a room looking at a singke assignment you still get ten veried opinions. However, there is real progress being made to set some shared teaching and learning standards in tourism, hospitality and events at Australia’s tertiary institutions.
The travel industry’s professional training organisations are also working to set common standards for professionalism and training competence. Director of AFTA Education and Training, Rick Myatt has been the driving force with the Australian Travel Careers Council and the Technical Advisory Committee which provide advice on the quality of both entry level and in-service training in the Australian travel industry.
Today, its very difficult to gain an entry level job in the tourism industry without some formal qualifucations. Employers in all sectors of the tourism industry want the assurance of employing people who have a basic set of skills and the certification to prove it. All travel professionals will obviously learn much more on the job but raw talent alone is no longer good enough for most travel industry employers.
Over the past few years there has been a distinctive trend in Australia towards greater professionalism in the travel industry. The competitiveness of the industry requires successful tourism and hospitality businesses to ensure that their staff are well trained to cater to the demands of increasingly sophisticated and knowledgable consumers.