By Joe Baker, Dean, School of Hospitality, Tourism and Culinary Arts, Centennial College
According to Tourism HR Canada, tourism is a $90 billion industry that employs over 1.8 million workers, outpacing many other industries in the country. As Canada’s share of the global tourism market increases, so does the need for a highly skilled workforce. At Centennial, we see this as an opportunity to build a workforce that meets the skills required for the future of work in tourism. How do we do this? By learning from the source.
Last week, Philip Mondor, president and CEO of Tourism HR Canada, facilitated a two-day workshop at Centennial College on the future of work in the tourism sector. The event provided our faculty with an insight into the current and future labour market issues. It also offered an introduction to the Future Skills Framework and competency-based learning. Understanding the needs and challenges of the industry allows us to tailor our curriculum. By critically mapping programs against competency frameworks and closing any gaps, we ensure that our grads are prepared for the future success of working in tourism.
Canada’s position on the global tourism market, as well as its global standing and competitiveness, is largely dependent on its ability to attract, develop and retain talent. Education needs to play a role in this talent pipeline. There is a need to increase the understanding of the tourism industry’s economic and social importance among businesses, industry, governments and educators.
How do we as Canadian educators address these issues? By creating a curriculum that immerses students in real-life experiences. These include work-integrated learning opportunities, events, competitions, field trips, workshops and all things connected to the industry. We need to ignite a passion for tourism within our students and help them see the industry as a viable and rewarding place to pursue their careers. We also need to ensure that their passion can be matched with opportunities for career development.
We pride ourselves on the fact that our faculty members come to us directly from the industry. Their direct knowledge and experience ensure that our tourism-focused programs are relevant to the needs of employers. As educators, we have to be equipped with knowledge of current trends, standards and needs of the industry. With that knowledge our faculty can challenge their own assumptions and the system itself. Together we can address the needs of the industry and guarantee its success.
Collaborating closely with partners like Tourism HR Canada enables us to identify current needs and create programming that makes a difference. This way, we can shape the future workforce of the Canadian tourism industry within the higher education institutions across the country.
Tourism HR Canada thanks Joe Baker for this contribution and insight. Centennial College offers two SMART + Premium Programs–accreditation that recognizes they meet or exceed industry standards. Find out more here.