11 SES 11 A, Adults’ Training and Promotion of Values for Integrated Societies
The twenty-first century has brought many challenges for people in all spheres. Addressing human and social consequences of an international financial crisis, meeting development goals, encouraging green growth, responding to climate change, ageing societies, the knowledge economy (OECD, 2012) are the key issues at the centre of international debate. This is also evident in the EU strategic priorities till 2020, where stress is laid on smart sustainable and inclusive growth (Europe 2020, 2010) and which are further elaborated in corresponding documents and reports on education Europewide, e.g., ET 2020 (2009), Quality and Relevance in HE (2014), and in Latvia and various comprehensive studies worldwide, e.g., OECD study Skills beyond School (2014). All of them emphasize employability, high level employable transferable skills and the role of lifelong learning in enhancing their development.
Year 2015 has even been declared the European Year for Development. The moto of EYD2015, officially opened in Riga, on 16.01.2015., is “Our world, our dignity, our future” (EYD, 2015). This brings us to the issue of the significance of lifelong learning at all stages of life, including transition from formal learning into professional life.
Business environments are changing and to adapt to the new context employees have to engage in learning.
For employees this means a move from guaranteed lifelong employment to self-managed lifelong employability (Thijssen, et.al., 2008) which implies possessing knowledge and the skills to apply that knowledge in a multidisciplinary, team-oriented, dynamic environment and engaging in LLL (Berdrow, Evers, 2011).
Various studies on employability skills reveal similar trends – employers highly value skills related with employees’ attitudes, communication, basic knowledge (Baxter, Young, 1982; Casner-Lotto, et.al., 2006; Ju, et.al., 2012). In ECER 2014, the author of the current paper collaborating with T.Pigozne analyzed the terms ‘employability’ and ‘employment’, different concepts of employability skills, presented the results of research on employability skills of young people (Pigozne, Luka, 2014). The current study focuses on the specific needs of tourism and hospitality industry and development of employability skills for their employees.
The topicality of the study is underlined by the fact that tourism has turned into a key driver of socio-economic progress being one of the largest and fastest-growing economic sectors in the world. 1 in 11 jobs worldwide is connected with tourism (WTO Highlights, 2014).
The quality of tourism product/service lies in intangible elements, including interaction between employees and customers during the service encounter (Bailly, Léné, 2014). Other relevant skills are occupation-specific skills, communication, team-working, self-management, creativity (Learning while Working, 2011).
Studies on employability skills for tourism specialists (Bagshaw, 1996; Emenheiser, et.al., 1998; Tesone, Ricci, 2006; Kwok, et.al., 2012) emphasize significance of communication, management, organizational, intercultural skills. To summarize, employees in tourism must be qualified with regard to professional, methodological, social and leadership competencies; in order to develop them, integrated approaches encompassing learning in natural environment should be applied (Zehrer, et.al., 2014). This points to the special role of languages in tourism where they are a primary tool for operating successfully. Language learning is not an isolated activity. Languages are learnt in professional setting and for interaction purposes. Language learning is not the aim but the means to become professional in the field. Hence, stakeholders’ needs are significant.
The purpose of the current study is to analyze the industry needs and language teachers’ perceptions on teaching languages for hospitality industry Europewide in order to create a course that would foster the development of tourism specialists’ employability skills applying integrated language learning approach.
Such a course would enable hospitality industry employees to ease transitions to working life more effectively and have access to opportunities to develop their employability skills.
*OECD Indicators of Education Systems. (2012). *Europe 2020. (2010). Communication from the Commission. Brussels, 3,3,2010., *ET 2020. (2009). Council conclusions 2009/C 119/02. *Quality and Relevance in Higher Education. (2014). Education and Training. *Skills beyond School. (2014). OECD. Thematic Review of Tertiary Education. *The European Year for Development kicks off in Riga. (2015). European Year for Development. By Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Latvia, Latvija, 16/01/2015. *Thijssen, J.G., Van der Heijden, B.I., Rocco, T.S. (2008). Toward the employability-link model: Current employment transition to future employment perspectives. Human Resources Development, 7, 165-183. *Berdrow, I., Evers, F. (2011). Bases of Competence: A Framework for Facilitating Reflective Learner-Centered Educational Environments. Journal of Management Education, 35 (3), 406-427. *Baxter, M.B., Young, J.L. (1982). What do employers expect from high school graduates? NASSP Bulletin, 66 (458), 93-96. *Casner-Lotto, J., Barrington, L., Wright, M. (2006). Are they really ready to work? The Conference Board. Trusted Insights for Business Worldwide. May 2006. *Ju, S., Zhang, D., Pacha, J. (2012). Employability Skills Valued by Employers as Important for Entry-Level Employees With and Without Disabilities. Career Development and Transition for Exceptional Individuals, 35 (1), 29-38. *Pigozne, T., Luka, I. (2014). Enhancing Employability Skills for Increasing Youth Employability. Presented at ECER 2014 in Porto. *World Tourism Organisation Highlights. (2014). UNWTO Publication. *Zehrer, A., Muskat, B., Muskat, M. (2014). Services research in tourism: Advocating the integration of the supplier side. Journal of Vacation Marketing, 20 (4), 353-363. *Bailly,F., Léné, A. (2014). What Makes a Good Worker? Richard Edwards Is Still Relevant. Review of Radical Political Economics, 1-17. *Learning while Working. (2011). CEDEFOP. Luxembourg. *Bagshaw, M. (1996). Creating employability: how can training and development square the circle between individual and corporate interest? Industrial and Commercial Training, 28 (1), 16-18. *Emrenheiser, D., Clay, J., Palakurthi, R. (1998). Profiles of successful restaurant managers for recruitment and selection in the US. International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, 10 (2), 54-62. *Tesone, D., Ricci, P. (2006). Toward a definition of entry-level job competencies: Hospitality manager perspectives. International Journal of Hospitality & Tourism Administration, 7, 65-80. *Kwok,L., Adams, C., Feng, D. (2012). A comparison of graduating seniors who receive job offers and those who do not according to hospitality recruiters’ selection criteria. International Journal of Hospitality Management, 31, 500-510. *Saunders, M., Lewis, P., Thornhill, A. (2009). Research Methods for Business Students. Harlow: Pearson. *Collis, J., Hussey, R. (2009). Business Research. NY: Palgrave Macmillan.
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