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Developing Industry Relevant Skills: Stirling’s Tourism Programme Dr Joanne Connell Department of Marketing
Ethos of the Programme Academically sound and industry-focused, providing a business degree with a flavour of tourism Ø The programme promotes an international perspective and a focus on the Scottish economy, reflecting: Ø l l the Scottish Enterprise initiative that funded the development of tourism at Stirling, and; the continuing relationship with Scottish Enterprise and other public sector agencies. Such agencies play a key role in the programme, through a combination of guest lectures and practical support with coursework and dissertations.
Employability: Tourism Graduates Ø According to the QAA, Tourism Management degrees should: l l Ø enable students to demonstrate vocationally relevant managerial skills and knowledge by exposure to professional practice; evaluate and apply vocationally relevant concepts associated with the operational and strategic management of resources. Develop understanding and application of concepts to applied project work, in conjunction with professional practice in tourism.
Stimulating Employability Principles, models and concepts Subject-specific knowledge Knowledge and understanding Analysis, interpretation, synthesis Evaluation and critical review Application of concepts Transferable skills Intellectual skills Communicate ideas Manage resources Team work Work to a brief Work independently Use IT Self-confidence Subject practical skills Research techniques Simulated and real-life projects Work with different audiences
Stimulating Employability Apart from the introductory module, the exam format has been discarded in favour of a proactive student-focused approach to assessing student understanding and performance; Ø The opportunity for project work with a range of external organisations is commended in student evaluations and external examiner reports by supporting learning and skills acquisition. Ø
Components of the Programme Contributing to Employability Example: Core modules Ø Learning and teaching methods Ø Staff/industry links Ø Industry contribution Ø l l l Ø guest lectures visits workshops Blend of academic excellence and practical involvement: ‘keeping it real’ Tourism Operations Management Identification of business opportunities and development of a business plan Ø Collaboration with SEFV Ø Tourism business training workshop Ø Presentation of business plan Ø
Projects with External Bodies Ø Development of a business idea and business plan with assistance from Scottish Enterprise Forth Valley Ø Developing a sustainable tourism plan for Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park Authority Developing an events strategy for Dunblane Forum’s Tourism Group Ø Planning and organising an event in collaboration with the macrobert arts centre (45 T 7: 2005/6); Ø Dissertations in conjunction with external agencies include: l l study of the organisation of Visit. Scotland’s TIC network (2005); evaluation of community-based tourism in Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park (2005); the effectiveness of the Green Tourism Business Scheme (2005); study of lifestyle entrepreneurs (with Visit. Scotland Borders region) (2006);
Components of the Programme Contributing to Employability Tourism and Leisure Event Management Ø Create, plan, organise and stage a live charity event as part of the assessment to: l l develop a practical insight into and skills in staging an event; develop student skills in planning, negotiation, time management, creativity, communication and organisation; Small team approach to simulate event management context; Ø Dedicated roles, e. g. Project Manager, HR, PR, Venue Liaison, Front-of-House Ø Employability Professional and industry-relevant skills Communication and presentation skills Planning and time management skills
Module Evaluation Student comments “A steep but extremely interesting learning curve!!” “We have had so much fun and learned so much. This kind of knowledge can not be learned through reading and writing”. “My absolute best unit ever since I came to Stirling Uni four years ago!” “The module was well organised and we had experts and advisors available to us. The guest lectures were helpful and interesting”. “Fantastic unit which stimulated a lot!!”
Graduate Destinations Examples of 2005 graduates: Ø Assistant Manager, National Wallace Monument Ø Business Adviser, SE Edinburgh and Lothians Ø Audit Team, Green Tourism Business Scheme Ø Managerial positions in hotel and catering
Summary Ø Student engagement with industry and industry-relevant skills Ø Forging links with potential employers early on Ø Creating a link between theory and on the ground issues - identify the relevance and allow the students to experience it for themselves