The Tourism Teachers Association (TTA) is still in its infancy and has been born out of a desire by teachers to have improved resources and assessment processes. This in turn will better prepare students for employment in the tourism and travel industry. Association committee member, and head of tourism at Mt Albert Grammar, Joe Kerrigan says there is a disconnect between what is going on in the classroom and what tourism employers are seeking. ‘We are currently assessing on a narrow range of skills and although we have a lot of resources, again these are narrowly focused,’ says Kerrigan. ‘What the industry wants demonstrated are group work, sales skills, presentation ability and more.’ He says it is important that what is taught encompasses the variety and diversity offered in tourism and travel. ‘We need the processes to allow students to display wider skills.’
Megan Roberts, tourism work integrated learning leader industry liaison and senior lecturer at the School of Hospitality and Tourism, Auckland University of Technology, says the TTA brings tourism teachers together to network and support each other and gives teachers a stronger voice to influence curriculum and connect with industry. ‘They need this voice to action change as we jointly face significant future challenges to teaching tourism in New Zealand.’ The chair of the association is Claire McKay of Rangitoto College. TTA is initially based in Auckland but there are plans to set up satellites around the country.