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Deputy VC: Need To Adapt To ‘Rapid’ Tourism Changes

The rapid speed of change in the local tourism industry needs to be met with equally fast adaptive measures that will serve the people’s needs, says a local expert. The
04 Jun 2018 14:15
Deputy VC: Need To Adapt To ‘Rapid’ Tourism Changes
University of the South Pacific’s Deputy vice-chancellor Professor Richard Coll.

The rapid speed of change in the local tourism industry needs to be met with equally fast adaptive measures that will serve the people’s needs, says a local expert.

The University of the South Pacific’s deputy vice-chancellor Professor Richard Coll, made the comment while speaking at the 2018 Nadi Industry Consultation at the Nadi Tourism and Hospitality Training Centre in Namaka yesterday.

“This is why we are here tonight: to pick your brains so that we can serve you, and your industries more effectively, now and in the future,” Mr Coll said.

“We stand in a building that is a testament to USP Pacific TAFE’s commitment to the Tourism and Hospitality industry and other business sectors.”

He said research showed that both parties needed to be more engaging in developing the economies.

“In developing nations, we do not have plethora of resources and providers cannot have economics of scale for programme viability,” he said.

“Resource pooling, content and assessment development and validation and giving workplace exposure to full teaching staff for currency of skills are some of the ways experimented.

“Industry professional bodies needs to be set up to advise about standards. The ones, already in existence should be vocal to providers about changing industry requirements that graduates need to have.

“For certain programmes, industry and academia can co-teach to prepare work ready graduates.”

He urged industries to be a part of the university placement process.

“Industry placement is allowed by employers in Fiji increasingly but I wish to see industries to be part of placement planning as well and not to be only at the receiving end,” he said.

“I do understand industries do not have that much time but a socially and morally obligated organisation will see taking out time for the development of our future workforce as a direct benefit.

“Providers need to escalate engagements with industries.

“The engagement needs to go further such as collaborations in awareness to students and parents, advocacy to policy makers, conferences, sharing of best practices, etc.”

Professor Coll said the Nadi Hospitality and Tourism Training Centre was gaining momentum and acknowledged onset contributions some of the members of the local industry had already made.

He said the contributions had supported USP with what it was trying to do in Nadi.

“We are hopeful that in the near future, we will be running hospitality training on site in a number of hotels or resorts as a result of these meetings,” he said.

“It is just one more example of how the relationship between education and industry needs to be flexible and open.

“Training at Pacific TAFE is driven by industry input and industry needs and as such it needs to be grounded in real life experience.

“We do not want to teach theory alone, but produce work ready graduates of the highest caliber.

“For this, our students need real life experience as part of their learning journey. Work placements are built into all of our tourism and hospitality qualifications.”

 

Edited by Sheldon Chanel

Feedback:  charles.chambers@fijisun.com.fj

 

 

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