Soft Skills in Tourism
In the context of the tourism industry, soft skills are deemed to be highly relevant to the rate of performance and competitiveness of businesses. Research has confirmed, however, that there exists an apparent mismatch between the needs of the market and the level of soft skills with which tourism students and graduates are equipped with. The goal of INCOME Tourism is therefore to develop soft skills into higher education curricula and to strongly cooperate with businesses to ensure that learning opportunities in the ‘real’ world are provided to tourism graduates.
The INCOME Tourism project aims to foster a new learning approach, linked to the development of soft skills and based on a cooperative learning process that brings together higher education institutions and businesses in the tourism industry.
The development of the learning model will be carried out by HEIs in close consultation with the businesses. The HEIs will also collaborate with tourism businesses and sectoral associations in the identification of the relevant skills that graduates should develop, and in the design of the disciplines and of the conditions for these skills to be acquired and put into practice in the piloting experience of the project during a whole academic year. Another innovative element of the project is that the learning trios – students, in-company tutors and HEI tutors – will have the opportunity to travel to Germany and learn from the dual German model, within a mobility programme at the University of Ravensburg and its partner companies, maximising the learning exchange.
INCOME is a 3-year project, and its main expected results are:
- A soft Skills needs assessment report, tackling the skills gaps between tourism industry requirements and tourism curriculum;
- A standardized soft skills curriculum that will overcome the plurality of understandings and approaches on soft skills;
- A new cooperative learning model, fostering collaboration between HEIs and companies;
- Qualification with higher employability potential, due to the matching skills exercise and the work-based model, promoting greater integration of young people into the labour market and consequently reducing their unemployment;
- Dissemination events to raise awareness and reach stakeholders across Europe.
Furthermore, a Memorandum of Cooperation will be signed by all partners (full and associate) by the end of the project as the basis for the creation of the European Forum for dual Higher Education.