Recently published in the Australian Centre for Career Education (CEAV) Journal, our Industry Engagement Manager, Vashti Silver article focuses on the importance of industry engagement in higher education space. Read on.
The Hotel School delivers work-integrated education through a unique industry-education partnership between Southern Cross University and Mulpha, a global hotel investment group. For 30 years The School has attracted and retained longstanding relationships with tourism and hospitality industry providers, offering students opportunities to engage with industry throughout the academic program and through professional development courses. From an academic perspective, “our curriculum design combines theoretical knowledge with industry driven activities to produce profession-ready graduates” (John Iveson, Academic Manager).
Industry participation in student learning is critical to the success of the hotel management programs. Industry Engagement Manager, Vashti Silver says, “our industry partners make a valuable contribution to our students’ education by playing a meaningful role in the development of essential knowledge and skills required to gain employment in their chosen career. Together we are true partners in student learning”. In her role, Ms Silver works with educators and industry partners to create innovative programs and meaningful experiences for both students and industry.
Industry regularly participate in guest lecture speaker series, demonstrations, student networking sessions, workshops, and offer experiential and Work Integrated Learning opportunities including ‘insights’ site visits, practical courses, short-term work experience and 6-month internships. Through these experiences students are provided with key knowledge and professional skills required in their chosen career field, the opportunity to develop industry connections, and students can confidently apply for the many employment opportunities available during and post-degree.
Students overwhelmingly support industry participation. They gain professional and career awareness from learning about the current trends of the hospitality industry, the reality of working in the industry, as well as the breadth of career opportunities.
Industry involvement also provides a platform to develop professional networks which will hold them in good stead for their future careers. Industry partners consider that the programs delivered by The Hotel School develop student self-efficacy, professional awareness and expectations, and provide students with important career preparation.
Industry partners view their involvement in The Hotel School programs as stakeholders in student learning—an “opportunity to help set students up for success on entering the workforce” (TFE Hotels) and “help the students set a fundamental base on what to expect when entering the industry” (IHG).
For TFE Hotels, “our partnership with The Hotel School forms a key part of our industry engagement strategy which is something we value very highly.” From a recruitment perspective, the programs also provide industry with direct and early access to employees: “initiatives benefit both parties and also allows our team to capture any high potentials for future opportunities within IHG” (IHG).
The Hotel School has received multiple university and national awards for their work-integrated education programs, including an Australian and Learning Teaching Citation for programs that enhance learning. Most recently, The Hotel School was a finalist in the Australian Collaborative Education Network (ACEN) national awards, for their collaboration in a mock interview program with four International hotel industry partners: Accor Hotels, InterContinental Hotels Group, Marriott International, and TFE Hotels. The partnership was highly praised, having demonstrated a ‘sustained and significant contribution to Work Integrated Learning’ for 10 years.
The mock interview program is an authentic generic skills and career development experience, involving more than 30 organisation representatives and 150 students undertaking the subject ‘Introduction to Professional Practice’, a requirement in preparation for the 6 month internship. This annual program incorporates an industry standard, structured interview, during which the organisations provide students with constructive written feedback designed to build career capability.
It also serves as an assessment, with students producing a reflective piece of their learning experience. “We feel privileged to be invited back time and time again by The Hotel School and to be able to play a small part in shaping the hoteliers of the future!” (TFE Hotels).
The Hotel School’s industry engagement philosophy is to ensure programs also provide benefit to industry partners. Consequently, many programs serve as a reciprocal learning activity and professional development opportunity for industry partners wishing to develop their professional speaking skills, improve their networking ability, or enhance their interview experience; “mock interviews provides exceptional experience for our newer leaders to develop their interviewing technique” (IHG). END
For more information on CEAV head to https://www.ceav.vic.edu.au/ or visit our programs to understand better ow we link industry with our teaching.