Academic journal article International Journal of Business and Society

Developing an Index of the Malaysian Tourism and Hospitality Graduates Competencies

Academic journal article International Journal of Business and Society

Developing an Index of the Malaysian Tourism and Hospitality Graduates Competencies

Article excerpt

1. INTRODUCTION

Today, the tourism and hospitality education in Malaysia is tremendously developed to produce quality graduates to fulfill the industry needs (Zahari, Hanafiah, Othman, Jamaluddin & Zulkifli, 2010). With the increasing demand for tourism and hospitality graduates, several educational institutions in the country have established the program by giving vital attention to the competencies required by the industry for instance Universiti Teknologi MARA, Universiti Utara Malaysia, Universiti Malaya, Universiti Malaysia Sabah, Universiti Sains Malaysia, Taylor's University College, Begi University College, Damansara Utama College and Limkokwing University of Creative Technology. In addition, two hotel sectors are also offering full time and short courses for the tourism and hospitality namely Berjaya University College and Legend International College.

It is agreeable that the tourism and hospitality education programs must have specialized courses which provide students with specific interest area in the industry complying with the Accreditation Commission for Programs in Hospitality Administration (ACPHA) 1992. Many studies stress on the significance of competencies for the tourism and hospitality graduates in order for them to perform in the industry (Goodman & Sprague, 1991; Jayawardena, 2001; Barrows & Walsh, 2002; Littlejohn & Watson, 2004; Zopiatis, 2010). The tourism and hospitality education should consists of five broad abilities and skills which cover the area of marketing orientation, service delivery systems, human resources, physical assets, and management structures and policies (Barrows & Hobson, 1993). In addition, human resource skills is found to be a vital skill for graduate which compass of coaching, training, negotiating, disciplining, and handling difficult people (William & Hunter, 1991).

Furthermore, human relation is considered as the most significant skill within the top rated grouping which involves areas such as guest care, employee relations, professionalism and communication (Baum, 2006). Communication skills for instance are viewed as very important criteria for the hiring process of the tourism and hospitality graduates (Geissler & Martin, 1998). A recent study by Hairi, Ahmad Toee and Razzaly (2011) indicates that the local Malaysian universities are still lacking relevant soft skills competencies which lead to their unemployment in a highly competitive job market. Additionally, the National Economic Action Council also found that there is a mismatch of competency between the industry requirements and the graduates produced by the universities. In 1993, the Ministry of Culture, Arts and Tourism (MOCAT) Malaysia has embarked on the development of National Occupational Skill Standard (NOSS) which comprising of 33 job areas in the hotel industry, 30 job areas in the tourism and travel sector, eight job areas in the theme park sector and six job areas in the recreational scuba diving. The purpose of NOSS for the tourism and hospitality industry is to assist training institutions in preparing competent persons to meet actual job requirements. Hence it must be noted that the designing of the program is only to make vocational and skill training in Malaysia more relevant to industry's needs regardless of the customers and general public overall improvement in the quality of services. With so many institutions in Malaysia offering the program, the quality of the curriculum structure has become major issue in the tourism and hospitality education. Therefore, the competencies required by the industry need to be compiled into the curriculum as to produce quality graduates. Thus, a study was conducted to develop a standard index to measure the competencies of tourism and hospitality graduates as requested by the industry.

2. OVERVIEW OF THE LITERATURE

A competency or abilities and skills model is defined as an integrating education and training, aligning both with the needs of the labor market and promoting mobility for individuals (Van der Klink & Boon, 2002; Delamare Le Deist & Winterton, 2005). …

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