via
Joint Masters in International Tourism and Events Management
via This project is supported by the Lifelong Learning Programme of the European Union
Development of Vidzeme University of Applied Sciences and Klaipeda University international Master’s study program
Unusual for the usual environment associated with the defence of academic papers, Vidzeme University of Applied...
26.01.2017
Global Conference on Sustainability, Tourism and Hospitality on January 23, 2015
International Tourism Events Management study programme director Dr.geogr. Andris Klepers invites you to join the 1st...
09.01.2015
New Shift in Bridging Tourism Industry and Academia on a Baltic Level
By: Andris Klepers, Ph.D., Lecturer, Vidzeme University of Applied Sciences, Latvia Importance of the international...
27.10.2014
Case Study on University-Industry Cooperation: International Tourism Events Management
By: Iveta Putniņa, Administrative Vice-Rector, Vidzeme University of Applied Sciences Key words: tourism, events,...
09.10.2014
Case Study on University-Industry Cooperation: International Tourism Events Management
Author: liga.tuca Date: 09.10.2014

By: Iveta Putniņa, Administrative Vice-Rector, Vidzeme University of Applied Sciences

Key words: tourism, events, university - industry cooperation, Vidzeme University of Applied Sciences, Klaipeda University, Estonian School of Hotel and Tourism Management EHTE, Manchester Metropolitan University, The International Centre of Studies on the Tourist Economy – CISET, The Association of Hotels and Restaurants of Latvia, Baltic International Summer School

Following recent discussions at the conference of European Association for Higher Education (EAIE 2014) on university graduates readiness for job market, there are several issues which should be mentioned. Key players in higher education arena (employers, top management of universities, policy makers) admitted that there are two main problems with graduate employment. The first one is a problem of numbers – the economic increase is slower than the number of new graduates looking for a job, and it is likely that we will never get back the job positions we have lost during the economic crisis. The second one is a quality issue – new job positions which have never existed before, and the fact that universities have to prepare the graduates for the job which most likely does not exist at the moment. This is the background to take into account when working on new study programmes and developing the existing ones.

Vidzeme University of Applied Sciences (Latvia) in cooperation with its partners: Klaipeda University (KU), Estonian School of Hotel and Tourism Management (EHTE), Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU), The International Centre of Studies on the Tourist Economy (CISET), and the Association of Hotels and Restaurants of Latvia (AHRL) has worked on two-year project supported by the European Commission aimed at the development of new international joint master’s programme, representing high quality applied studies in tourism events field with a strong orientation towards innovations and development of digital competences. The idea of a curriculum with embedded cooperation with industry was one of the key factors during study programme development phase.

The experience of cooperation with industry existed already before this project in the above mentioned universities; however, these two years allowed sharing the best practice from five countries and its integration in the new curriculum. The core element of structured cooperation with industry is Student Group Consultancy Project Module, called also Live Projects which has been implemented so far at MMU and CISET, but now also as one module in the new International Tourism Events Management study programme. The module presents a structured approach to consulting enterprises on real cases by groups of students. During the project this approach was adapted by Baltic universities. Vidzeme University of Applied Sciences tested the student group consultancy project with its tourism students twice: first, in cooperation with Mazsalaca municipality which served as a platform for discussions and testing ideas of local small enterprises. The lead teacher assoc. prof. Agita Livina had first conclusions for the better module structure, student numbers and group size, basic principles on task definition and key role of the teacher within this process. The second adaptation phase was in local brewery company Valmiermuiza. In this case consultancy briefs where focused on one company, but on several possible development areas such as luxury tourism, design hotel, Estonian market etc. The guiding role of MMU and CISET in this learning and adapting phase was highly important including the excellent possibility to visit MMU and learn from the industry-university examples in UK. During this adaptation and testing phase MMU professor Tim Knowles who is the leading academic on tourism research, written a number of books related to tourism and has extensive international experience in the field, visited ViA, KU and EHTE and had individual discussions with involved students and teachers in all three universities in order to support the adaptation in the local situation.     

The other approach is to have university-industry cooperation elements in every module. The several examples where tested during summer schools: Baltic International Summer School 2013 and 2014. During the first year Valmiera City Festival which is of regional importance was the event which was evaluated from the theory point of view on planning, marketing, and event impact. Special attention was paid to use of mobile technologies in relation to the above mentioned subjects. This again led to better understanding of the possibilities and limits of university-industry cooperation and in 2014 the summer school students where working on the case of Riga as a Culture Capital which is the event of national scope.

When we talk about the 21st century skills needed for the graduates, this includes a variety of competences and above all - the motivation and willingness to take the leader role and shape the future. We as the project team believe that these examples will help us to encourage further dialogue and understanding between academia and industry in order to have more “graduates fit for purpose”. For more information on the new joint master’s programme, see http://jointmaster.va.lv

Finally we give acknowledgement to European Commission which made it possible. Preparation of joint master program was financed by EU Lifelong Learning Programme within the project International Tourism and Events Management (2012-2014) ITEM (527698-LLP-1-2012-1-LV-ERASMUS-EMCR).



	
 
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