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ITC campaigns for tourism education and awareness at major industry event

Posted on 13/09/2023 by

ITC’s Key Stakeholder, Ceri Jenkins, speaks at the BYATA conference.

The Backpacker Youth Adventure Tourism Association (BYATA) recently hosted its annual conference, and invited ITC’s Key Stakeholder Manager, Ceri Jenkins, to speak at the event.

The fact that ITC was asked out of all the tourism education providers in Aotearoa is a testament to the reputation of our college. Ceri took this opportunity to speak on behalf of tourism education as a whole, and to raise awareness for the importance of strong qualification options for young Kiwis interested in the industry.

What is the Backpacker Youth Adventure Tourism Association (BYATA)?

Since 2003, BYATA has been the independent voice of the backpacking and adventure travel industry in New Zealand.

BYATA has over 200 members from across the tourism industry, ranging from accommodation providers to tour operators and large multinationals to owner operated businesses. 

The annual BYATA conference

Regarded as one of NZ’s premier tourism events, the annual BYATA conference promised an unforgettable experience and certainly offered the opportunity to engage with and learn more about NZ’s youth and adventure sector. 

This year the 12th annual conference was held at Te Pae Convention Centre, Otautahi, Christchurch from Monday 28 through to Tuesday 29 August. Over 140 delegates representing more than 100 companies, including renowned industry leaders and Regional Tourism Offices from across the motu attended.  

BYATA Conference welcomed a diverse range of businesses that form the backbone of New Zealand’s tourism industry.

How is ITC involved with BYATA?

ITC’s Key Stakeholder Manager, Ceri Jenkins, is a BYATA Board member again in 2023/2024. 

Ceri being on the board ensures that tourism education is on the agenda at each meeting and opportunities to improve the link between the industry and education/training are maximised. This was the first opportunity for education to be on the agenda at a BYATA conference, and has certainly sparked a lot of interest in the current state of play and what the future may hold.

Because of Ceri’s presentation, Tourism Ticker wrote an extend article on key takeaways from the presentation.

Key takeaways from Ceri’s tourism education presentation

Our industry needs to get involved and make themselves heard – that is the advice to industry to support the future workforce, according to tourism education leaders.  

Ceri urged delegates to get involved with schools, communities, and the government to encourage student uptake. 

 “The good news is, certainly in high schools, that’s now starting to go in the right direction back up and tertiary is just lagging behind. But hopefully next year, we’ll start seeing an increase there as well,” said Jenkins.

Callum Green, head of social sciences at Burnside High and member of the Tourism Teachers Aotearoa New Zealand (TTANZ), said the upcoming changes to education in the secondary sector came with numerous challenges.

A new curriculum for Level 2 would be implemented in 2026 and Level 3 development would start next year for 2027, however, there was still a perception problem around tourism.

“The key thing around the background [of] tourism is that there was no curriculum. Every other subject has a curriculum, has a document written about pedagogy and how to teach and what to teach. Tourism presently is about to get that, but has not traditionally had that,” said Green.

“So those perceptions within schools and in communities were not great. Which led on to the idea that there are few teachers who wanted to teach it, or qualified to teach it.”

He hoped the new curriculum would start to turn around “some of the entrenchment of the way tourism is viewed at schools.”

Forging a new path for tourism education

Green called on industry “to be open and able and willing to make links with your local high school, with students, with teachers, with [TTANZ], so that we can bring that learning to life.”

“Potentially, in the long term, you have people who see the values of your businesses… you’ll have some more workers coming out of it.”

Jenkins also encouraged operators to work with tertiary institutions to develop recruitment pipelines and influence course design.

“We’re not currently in a situation where we’ve got enough graduates to actually answer all you need in terms of recruitment,” he said.

He also touched on major gaps in the sector – there were no polytechnics teaching tourism in Auckland or Wellington, and, on a university level, six of the eight major institutions had cut or abolished courses.

“How do we move away from traditional classroom-based learning when the qualifications do not exist in a format that enables this to happen, and the industry is not ready for work-based learning?”

Jenkins also urged industry to get involved with local and national government, spread the word about the value of tourism education, and approach their local schools to be a guest speaker.

“Go in and tell your stories, take a young person… and just tell them why they should work in tourism, why you think it’s an amazing career for them.”

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