‘Skills crisis starts in schools – Teachers need more support’

‘Skills crisis starts in schools – Teachers need more support’

The skills crisis in New Zealand’s tourism and travel starts in secondary schools, where both teachers and students in the topics are often looked down upon by their peers, says a leading educator in the sector.

Megan Roberts, tourism work integrated learning leader and industry liaison and senior lecturer at School of Hospitality and Tourism Auckland University of Technology (AUT) says the issue urgently needs leadership.

“The situation in secondary schools needs a real shake-up,’ says Roberts. ‘Tourism and hospitality are often seen as the options for less academic students.

‘That doesn’t lead to a positive impression or opinion from students and their parents.’

She says Service IQ is right in identifying an industry in crisis when it comes to future skill shortages (see TRAVELinc Memo Tuesday 18 July) but says the organisation needs to take some responsibility for the situation.

Tourism Industry Aotearoa (TIA) also needs to step up to the plate when it comes to taking a lead.

‘The situation in tourism is exactly the same as in travel. We are not getting the interest from enough of our young people, and that fuels the crisis that we can all see coming.

A lot of organisations in both travel and tourism just don’t have the experienced people coming through because there is no real succession planning focused on the people required.’

‘The industry and Service IQ need to have more engagement with teachers. Tourism teachers tend to work in a vacuum and they are not supported enough by their regulatory body or, in many cases, by their management.’

Roberts and colleagues at AUT have completed a research paper on the subject, which is currently at press.