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AUT launches online Masters in hospitality managmt

AUT launches online Masters in hospitality management

AUT University is launching an online Master in Professional Hospitality Studies programme to meet industry demand throughout New Zealand and the Pacific for highly skilled managers.

The flexible course will allow hospitality sector managers throughout the region to study for a recognised postgraduate qualification while working full-time, even in remote locations.

Acting Head of AUT’s School of Hospital and Tourism Dr Elizabeth Roberts says the course, which starts next year, is the first of its kind in Australasia and will help meet the severe shortage of skilled hospitality managers in New Zealand and overseas.

The Master in Professional Hospitality Studies (MPHS) will enhance students’ ability to think critically and perform effectively in a highly competitive environment, she says.

It is aimed at hospitality sector managers with an undergraduate degree and at least three years of relevant management experience who want to enhance their knowledge and qualifications.

AUT has already had several enquiries for an online postgraduate programme from industry practitioners overseas, most notably the Cook Islands and Fiji.

The New Zealand Hotel Council endorses the programme, which it says will provide a pool of highly qualified managers to meet the growing demands of the New Zealand tourism industry.

Council chief executive officer Jennie Langley says the large hotel sector in New Zealand is struggling to find workers, let alone suitably skilled ones.

“To retain and advance good employees it is essential to provide a suitable career path and transferable, relevant qualifications,” she says. “The fact that the programme will be taught online is an added incentive for those who work unusual hours.”

Tourism Auckland chief executive Graeme Osborne also welcomes the AUT initiative, which he says will be essential in meeting the demand for highly skilled hospitality professionals.

Tourism is Auckland's biggest industry, with projected growth to 2010 for the
tourism sector predicted to account for 40% of the region’s total economic growth.

"It has been estimated that approximately 17,000 new people will be required each year to sustain projected growth in the industry through to 2010,” he says. “With this growth, the demand for skilled managers in tourism and hospitality will only continue to increase.”

In a survey of human resource directors in the Auckland region, feedback on the MPHS programme was highly positive with a number of managers saying they would like to enrol.

The one-year full-time (two years part-time) taught masters is one of several offered by AUT University, which sees a need to provide flexible postgraduate programmes with an applied focus to meet the demands of industry professionals.

The MPHS has three core papers, Strategic Management, Human Resource Management and Hospitality Financial Management, to prepare students to undertake an applied project within an organisational context. Most student/staff contact will be online, but students are required to attend two one-day residential sessions each semester.

The MPHS will complement AUT’s existing Master of International Hospitality Management.

Dr Roberts says the MPHS will also suit recent immigrants with relevant qualifications and experience seeking a postgraduate qualification to get into better paying, higher level positions within the hospitality industry.

Enrolments are now open for the MPHS.

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