Qualifications: The New Generation

Tuesday 5 July 2011, 11:20AM
By Hospitality Standards Institute (HSI)

The review of tertiary qualifications in hospitality has now begun in earnest. The New Zealand Qualifications Authority, who oversee the 160 sub-degree hospitality qualifications currently in use have stipulated that a reduction in qualifications is required. NZQA wants to trim down the number of qualifications for all industries and sectors by at least 45%.

HSI wholeheartedly supports this review. The myriad of qualifications is confusing for learners and employers. As well, when so many qualifications exist, there is an inefficient use of resources, for example, managing those qualifications and developing programme material. Representatives from HSI, the Institutes of Technology and Polytechnics, and Private Training Establishments met in early May to design the Plan for how this review of qualifications will take place. It was a landmark meeting. To my recollection it is the first time we have all sat around one table to look collectively at what the qualification needs are of the various groups.

The discussions identified that we bring a mix of agendas to the table. Some are common interests, others more important to some groups than to others. From the employer perspective, it is about having a set of qualifications that develop productive and skilled staff, and support a logical and accessible career pathway for learners. It is important that there are qualifications that employers, providers and learners understand, recognise, value and embrace. For some partners the international market is a key influence. Therefore, a qualification that is attractive to international workers, and has international recognition, is central to the discussions.

There was a consensus that we can and must reduce the current proliferation of hospitality qualifications. What that reduction will look like is not clear at this stage. The next step is to conduct sector meetings (cookery, F&B, accommodation, food services etc.) to identify the needs of each sector.

There are interesting time ahead, as we seek, with the benefit of hindsight, to fix the mistakes of the past 20 years, and develop a small framework of hospitality qualifications that are fit for purpose to meet the various needs of our industry.

By Steve Hanrahan, CEO of HSI