“This initiative will make it possible for experienced workers within the tourism industry to obtain formal accredited qualifications”
During the launch of ‘Recognition for Prior Learning’ initiative at the Institute of Tourism Studies (ITS), the Minister for Tourism Edward Zammit Lewis stated that a major critical factor to our current success in tourism are our human resources that deliver the range of products and services associated with this industry.
The Minister for Tourism Edward Zammit Lewis noted that Government is engaging with all employment-related stakeholders to secure their firm commitment towards measures designed to enhance the working conditions and the professional quality of the tourism workforce.
“While considerations such as employment generation and remuneration rates remain at the top of our agenda, we are also stressing on the longer-term issues, such as career development, entry qualifications and continuous personal development.” This approach will allow us to bridge the gap between the mentality of simply having a job in tourism, and the delivery of excellence in hospitality by those who believe that this sector offers them a career, stated the Minister.
“The role of the Institute for Tourism Studies is clearly critical towards achieving these objectives.” The Minister’s clearly stated his clear vision and direction for the Institute to grow and develop further, both in terms of academic excellence and in the number of students who choose tourism as their career.
This major initiative follows others namely, the launch in 2015 of the first ITS syllabus that was subjected to a comprehensive and thorough Quality Assurance process and the extensive sponsorship scheme that guarantees private sector job placements for ITS students.
This new process is designed to ensure that our human resources within the tourism industry can view tourism and hospitality as a career, through academic and practical training, besides also a formal accreditation framework thanks to the cooperation between ITS and Haaga-Helia University of Applied Sciences of Finland, noted the Minister for Tourism.
Through its ‘Recognition for Prior Learning’ programme, the ITS is addressing the needs of individuals who are currently employed in the tourism and hospitality sector with extensive experience gathered through their working life and who are seeking to further their skills and obtain formal accredited qualifications.
“By means of this measure, we are not only delivering formal value to the work and the knowledge gained on the job by those who have been contributing to this industry’s success, but we will be fast tracking the achievement of professional accredited qualifications through the range of courses made available at ITS. This will be ultimately granting them the opportunity to further consolidate their careers, something I am very pleased we have managed to finally attain.”
In his concluding remarks, the Minister for Tourism Edward Zammit Lewis expressed gratitude to the Board of Governor, management and academic staff at the ITS for their commitment towards ensuring the establishment of the Institute as a centre of excellence in the field of tourism and hospitality education in Malta.
ITS CEO Mr Pierre Fenech stated that “by implementing this program we are actually putting into practice what the European Council is recommending to Member States, that is to place national arrangements for validation by 2018. We are actually managing to implement this a year in advance. I am sure that a lot of valid people in the Tourism and hospitality industry who are not certified can benefit immensely through this program. This will enable such individuals to increase the visibility and value of their knowledge, skills and competences acquired outside formal education and training. They can use such to ease entry into the current courses of ITS including the degree programs in International Hospitality Management and Culinary Arts to be launched in May 2017.”
The Principal Lecturer Marjaana Makela at Haaga-Helia University of Applied Science Finland, who attended the official launch in Malta, remarked that “to be able to carry out this kind of process with transparent, valid and reliable procedures, constant dialogue is needed between education providers, governmental authorities and relevant industries. However, the philosophy and many of the novel pedagogical solutions in construction of the RPL process at ITS are built upon the Finnish model, itself aligning with the solution-focused and pragmatic Nordic practice of validation. At Haaga-Helia University of Applied Sciences, we are very much looking forward to continuing and solidifying our manifold cooperation with ITS, to be able to open new perspectives for the Maltese hospitality education, for the benefit of the entire industry.”