The Effectiveness of Hospitality Education in Developing Graduate Competencies.

Harvey, Angela (2018) The Effectiveness of Hospitality Education in Developing Graduate Competencies.


The purpose of this paper is to establish the
effectiveness of hospitality education in developing the competencies that graduates need to be successful in industry. With the rise in global tourism, the need for highly skilled and well-trained employees has never been
greater. According to the Irish Hospitality Institute (2016) attracting skilled employees continues to be a challenge for many businesses, despite the growth in availability of hospitality management courses over the past twenty years.

This study builds on existing research and brings new insights into the perceptions of both hospitality managers and lecturers on graduate competencies and how pedagogical practice can develop these. There is a need to examine the teaching approaches used in hospitality
and their ability to shape practice as academia does not operate in isolation and the labour needs for the industry into the future will be more diverse (Lugosi et al., 2009).

The research objectives for this study follow three strands of enquiry:
1) To establish the graduate skills most sought by hospitality employers.
2) To ascertain hospitality lecturers’ perceptions about these skills for employability in the sector.
3) To understand to what extent lecturers adapt their pedagogy to deliver on the desired skills and competencies.

The research methodology undertaken for this study follows an interpretivist/constructivist approach using qualitative research. The data collection methods involve both unstructured and semi-structured interviews which were chosen to gather the necessary information and insights to assist in answering the objectives.

The research reveals that traditional skills such as teamwork and problem-solving are still highly valued in the hospitality industry. Other outcomes encompass more modern day skills to include greater emphasis on the importance of grooming and the lucrative art of
upselling. Disclosed also are new insights into teaching strategies where group case studiesand the discussion method appear to enhance greater communication and
internships help to develop critical thinkers.

Finally, the study makes recommendations for higher institutions to address these findings which include the deployment of those teaching strategies which develop graduate skills and more support for lecturers in their implementation. Areas worthy of further study are highlighted to include more research on smaller class sizes and the contribution technology makes to education.

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