Mentoring for Quality Enhancement and Fostering Industry-Ready Graduates in Higher Education

Mentoring for Quality Enhancement and Fostering Industry-Ready Graduates in Higher Education

Rajka Presbury (Torrens University, Australia) and Madalyn A. Scerri (Torrens University, Australia)
Copyright: © 2020 |Pages: 24
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-1017-9.ch014

Abstract

Mentoring programs play a valuable role in higher education. Formal mentoring processes and relationships increase the overall perceived quality of an educational program and the professional success of new hotel management graduates. To evaluate an established mentoring program in higher education, a single case study of the Blue Mountains International Hotel Management School at Torrens University Australia (BMIHMS @TUA) was developed and that is presented and discussed in this chapter. The evaluation of the mentoring program found that mentoring relationships enable mentees to build knowledge and skills, develop networking opportunities, build confidence, and gain self-reflection abilities. The chapter offers insights and recommendations for higher education institutions to consider when setting up mentoring programs. The knowledge gained through this research will assist higher education institutions to better prepare students for a transition to work through mentoring whilst enhancing the quality of educational courses.
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Introduction

The service industry has emerged as a significant economic driver that plays an important role in the development of national and regional wealth (United Nations 2017). In the past ten years, world output and employment have grown from around 65.8% to 68.2% and employment from 54.5 to 60.8% respectively and show no sign of slowing down (International Labor Office, 2015). Significant future employment will be in the service industry as more countries develop their hospitality and tourism capacity.

In particular, the hotel sector in Australia has seen major growth. 2013-14 saw the opening of seventeen properties in Darwin, Canberra, Brisbane and Melbourne which added around 1, 700 new rooms to the existent supply of 87, 795 rooms (Australia Tourism, 2015). Additionally, the national occupancy rate grew 1.5 percentage points to 66.9% at the end of 2014. In 2015, occupancy rate increased to 74.4%, the average daily rate growth 2.1%, and the revenue per available room was 3.7% more (STR Global, 2015). By the end of 2017, Australia’s occupancy rate was 81.3%, the average daily rate is $152.12, and the revenue per available room is $123.73 (STR Global, 2017). These figures suggest the Australian accommodation sector is performing well, and it is projected that accommodation properties will continue to perform well financially (Deloitee Access Economics, 2017). Therefore, employment in the hotel sector will provide many opportunities for quality higher education graduates.

Employment in the hotel sector requires specific skills, knowledge and capabilities to service diverse needs and wants of customers. However, corporations (such as hotels, retail outlets, financial services and design houses) lack direct control over delivery quality by service employees (Scerri, Jenkins, & Lovell, 2017). Rather than using the traditional in house “apprenticeship” style training, service corporations largely depend on higher education institutions for formal qualifications and training of their employees (Fitzsimmons & Fitzsimmons, 2008). In turn, higher education institutions can develop relationships and processes with industry, including industry-employed alumni, to strengthen the quality and currency of education. Mentoring programs are one-tool institutions can utilise to develop and sustain high-quality education programs.

This chapter explores the role mentoring programs play in higher education programs. An evaluation of the Blue Mountains International Hotel Management School @ Torrens University Australia (BMIHMS @ TUA) mentoring program is developed to offer insights and recommendations for the establishment of mentoring in higher education institutions.

Key Terms in this Chapter

WIL: Learning which takes place in a work setting, where students engage in work experiences to advance their professional understanding in a chosen career.

Mentors: A group of established individuals who are graduates from the school and currently hold positions in senior management. Mentors agree to be on the list of available mentors who may provide mentoring and support for current and future students at the BMIHMS @ Torrens.

Mentees: Students who are in their final 6 months of study in an undergraduate or postgraduate program at BMIHMS @Torrens. All students who enter the mentoring program self-select to participate, receive no direct course benefit associated with credit points, and participate in their own time.

Alumni Board: A group formed by the alumni association to advise on ways to promote and engage alumni nationally and internationally.

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