Experiential learning is a hit with tourism students24 March 2017

Postgraduate tourism students work on a real project for an industry client.

Last year UQ Business School’s postgraduate Professional Experience (TOUR7040) course in the Master of Tourism, Hotel and Event Management has seen the largest enrolment since its inception in 2013. The course incorporates Work Integrated Learning opportunities including an industry group project in which postgraduate tourism students work on a real project for an industry client.

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Dr Jie Wang, lecturer and course coordinator, attributed the rise in student interest to the experience of working with real industry clients.

“This program gives students the chance to apply their classroom learnings to real world, unpredictable scenarios that often lack disciplinary boundaries,” she said.

“Students get an invaluable opportunity to work with a professional industry client on a real project and add value to their business.”

Dr Wang believes that Work Integrated Learning activities increase students’ understanding of the tourism, hospitality and event industries, as well as increase their employability.

“This combination of theoretical and practical learning experiences exposes students to the various career opportunities that are available to them and helps them to focus their career trajectory,” she said.

In addition to the group placement, the TOUR7040 course offers a series of professional development seminars that cover topics such as emotional intelligence in the workplace and organisational cross-cultural communication.

According to Dr Wang, this opportunity allows students to demonstrate their business communication, leadership, and team-work skills.

“This program turns tourism students into job-ready graduates,” she said.

Several students have been offered internships or employment opportunities after completing this course. Student project outcomes have also been implemented by several of the industry clients including Rydges Hotels & Resorts. After students created a staff handbook for one of its Queensland branches, Rydges decided to roll it out across its entire hotel and resort network.

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