This paper identifies issues to be considered in ensuring the education and training system can respond to emerging skills demand in the travel, tourism and hospitality industry. Improving the perception of this industry as a career of choice is important with particular attention paid to promoting the skilling of existing workers and developing the information and communication technology space. The paper highlights that stronger partnerships between training providers, business and industry peak bodies will be vital to these developments.
About the research
This paper was presented at the Australian Federation of Travel Agents Industry Leaders & Educators Engagement Symposium held in Sydney on 12 February 2015. With industry sustainability becoming a strong concern, even within growth sectors, this paper identifies issues to be considered in ensuring that the education and training system can respond to emerging skills demand in the travel, tourism and hospitality industry. There are a number of means by which this can be achieved, the most vital possibly being improving young people’s perceptions of the industry’s career options. For this industry to be viewed as a career of choice, one that holds diverse and rewarding career pathways, particular attention needs to be paid to the promotion of these aspects. Skill development that pays attention to current and future industry requirements is also essential, including upskilling existing workers and developing the information and communication technology skills the industry needs. Stronger partnerships between training providers, business and industry peak bodies are highlighted as essential catalysts for the realisation of these next steps.
- The numbers in training for travel, tourism and hospitality overall have declined in recent years, almost entirely due to a significant fall in the numbers of hospitality workers and to a lesser extent ‘other occupations’ receiving formal training. For some occupations, however, such as tourism and travel advisers, substantial growth was observed.
- Labour supply, ‘attraction’ and recruitment challenges have been identified as constraints to achieving growth in the travel, tourism and hospitality industry. In addition, the seasonal nature of some of the employment areas has resulted in the high use of casual labour and retention issues for some segments of the industry.
- The acquisition of skills in financial management, human resources, workplace health and safety, and business compliance is seen as important to the industry. As the travel, tourism and hospitality industry operates across a diverse range of businesses, promoting portable skill sets and the transferable experiences of workers is equally important.
- The occupational return on education and training is relatively lower for students in this industry compared with all vocational trained graduates. Efforts are needed to address perceptions and promote the diverse opportunities and pathways available.
Dr Craig Fowler
Managing Director, NCVER