The teaching of hospitality and tourism in secondary schools needs to change if the industry wants a steady pipeline of skilled workers, say Auckland University of Technology lecturers.

Tourism is New Zealand’s biggest source of revenue and is predicted to increase from $24 billion in 2014 to $41 billion in 2023,” say tourism lecturer Megan Roberts. “The industry needs immensely talented and skilled people and yet as a secondary school subject it is taught at an ultra-low level.”

Roberts, who organised a recent symposium for secondary school teachers on the topic, says the opinion of attendees was that the school curriculum is too basic and of no challenge to students. “From 2014 tourism was dropped as a university entrance approved subject. It is one of the few subjects assessed by an ITO (industry training organisation) and there is widespread belief that the resources and curriculum are sub-standard for the needs of the industry.”

“Teachers say they want more direct links to industry and they need contemporary and relevant teaching materials and resources. There is also a need for clear career information,” says Roberts.

AUT hospitality lecturer Dr David Williamson says the government’s review of the general education system is an opportunity to push for reassessment of the delivery of tourism and hospitality education at secondary school.

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