Development and enhancement of employability skills through a real working environment.

Authors: Farbrother, C., Lugosi, P. and Thomas, S.

Conference: Assessment and Feedback - What's The Answer? Higher Education Academy Hospitality, Leisure, Sport and Tourism Network Annual Conference

Dates: 12 November 2009

Place of Publication: Network 2009 Annual Conference


The professional/vocational element of the Hospitality Management programme plays a pivotal role around which other elements of learning sit comfortably. In September 2004 the School of Services Management took over the running of the staff restaurant (now named The Retreat). The task for the School was to continue with a commercial approach, without significant financial impacts but be lead by the academic focus and to secure the operation as an integral part of the curriculum.

There are two principal aims of the Real Working Experience (RWE) for students. The first is to prepare them for the hospitality industry with clear and specific skills encompassing a variety of areas of work; the second is to prepare students for employment by equipping them with a core set of employability skills. The success of the operation is measured through three chosen criteria. The three chosen criteria indicate both the range of benefits generated by the team for the students and the development of long term resources. 1. Approaches to teaching and learning support that influence, motivate and inspire students to learn: From a specific day to day perspective, a variety of skills are developed through their interactions with their peers and with the training staff within the RWE. These staff continually monitor, guide and encourage students in their activities and learning. 2. Development of curricula, resources and services that reflect a command of the field: The development of the learning and teaching strategies has been enhanced by several research and dissemination activities as well as the production of pedagogic resources.

3. Approaches to assessment, feedback and learning support that foster independent learning: Wide variety of assessment and feedback including student led peer and self assessment on line; daily feedback sessions, as a group, from the staff within the RWE; this is on top of any direct immediate feedback that students are given throughout the day. Feedback is also collated and built up over the year and students receive a mark for both their technical and professional (employability) skills from the staff. The students therefore receive formative and summative feedback on a variety of skills being developed. The work in the vocational units is complemented by and built on in the People and Performance unit. The assessment and feedback process involves students thinking critically about their employability skills, their future employment aims and the development they require to realise their ambitions. This development work continues through their placement and into their final year.

Source: Manual

Preferred by: Simon Thomas

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