Drive to address skills needs of tourism and hospitality sector

A new suite of third-level education programmes has been launched to encourage the retention and recruitment of talent for the tourism and hospitality sector.

Recent research from Fáilte Ireland indicates that almost one in four staff employed this summer are expected to be new to the tourism industry therefore a focus on training and upskilling is central to these practical new online education programmes.

The new online education programmes will provide tourism and hospitality employees with access to third-level qualifications to upskill them and help advance their career in the sector.

“Prior to the pandemic, tourism was Ireland’s largest indigenous industry. It is therefore important that higher education plays a constructive role in helping to reinvigorate this key engine of our national economy”

To find out more about the programmes and application process click here

Prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, the hospitality and tourism industry employed over 260,000 people in Ireland making it one of the largest employers and the industry with the greatest regional spread of economic activity.

As tourism and hospitality was severely impacted by the pandemic, thousands of skilled workers were forced to seek employment in other sectors.

“With so many new recruits coming into the sector developing the skills of tourism professionals to encourage staff retention is critical to the long-term recovery of the industry,” said Paul Hayden, head of Tourism Careers at Fáilte Ireland, and chair of the Tourism Careers Oversight Group.

“The creation of these modules is a result of positive collaboration between several organisations to address the skills needs of our industry. This flexible and innovative approach to professional development is another step in addressing the recruitment and retention barriers that exist for the tourism and hospitality labour force.”

Practical skills

The practical, skills-focused programmes have been developed by Technology University (TU) of Dublin’s School of Hospitality Management & Tourism in conjunction with the Tourism and Hospitality Careers Oversight Group which is chaired by Fáilte Ireland. 

The new programmes will provide Level 6 Higher Certification in Hospitality Supervisory Management and Level 9 Certification in Hospitality Management Development to those currently working in tourism and hospitality sector.

Modules for both programmes will operate as flexible, online Continuing Professional Development Programmes and have been developed by TU Dublin School of Hospitality Management & Tourism and its Human Capital Initiative industry engagement unit Convene, in collaboration with the Innovation Academy in UCD, and funded by the Human Capital Initiative.

“These new programmes have been co-designed and informed by collaborators from the hospitality and tourism industry with a view to helping people adapt and re-skill to succeed in these uncertain times,” said Dr Dominic Dillane, head of the School of Hospitality Management and Tourism, TU Dublin.

“Going forward, we will be working on further initiatives to help the wider Tourism sector respond to the rapid and disruptive changes that are shaping our world are having a significant impact on whole sectors of our economy.

“Prior to the pandemic, Tourism was Ireland’s largest indigenous industry. It is therefore important that higher education plays a constructive role in helping to reinvigorate this key engine of our national economy.”  

Applications for the new programmes are open and classes will begin in late September 2021.

“As the professional body for the hospitality and tourism Industry, the launch of these programmes today is in a direct response to industry training needs to upskill and provide Continuing Professional Development for both supervisors and manager,” said Tina Maree, national executive officer of the Irish Hospitality Institute.

“The modules are designed to allow students learn and work with on an online, part-time and flexible basis building credits to a full award with progression a pathway.”

The new third level programmes were welcomed by Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media, Catherine Martin, TD.

“Investing in our existing and future tourism professionals is vital to ensuring the sustainable growth of the tourism and hospitality sector into the future. I very much welcome today’s announcement of the first and only tourism and hospitality modular programme under the Human Capital Initiative Pillar 3 – Innovation and Agility.

“The development of these modules by TU Dublin in collaboration with the Tourism and Hospitality Careers Oversight Group and funded by my colleagues in the Department of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science is a fantastic example of innovation in higher education aligning with the future skills needs of the industry.”