University of the Free State (SOUTH AFRICA)
About this paper:
Appears in: EDULEARN13 Proceedings
Publication year: 2013
Pages: 4350-4360
ISBN: 978-84-616-3822-2
ISSN: 2340-1117
Conference name: 5th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 1-3 July, 2013
Location: Barcelona, Spain
Employability is labelled as one of the most significant challenges facing contemporary higher education. International employers of hospitality management graduates are particularly prone to criticise hospitality education providers for their inability to produce employable graduates. A number of higher education institutions have focused on competency models to prepare their students for the world of work. This study focuses on the Delphi technique that was used to develop a competence model for the enhanced employability of hospitality management graduates in South Africa.

A time-consuming qualitative content analysis process was followed and a draft competence framework was proposed. In order to promote the adaptation of the draft competence model to South African circumstances, a Delphi evaluation of the framework was undertaken by 39 hospitality industry professionals, academics and alumni. Specific considerations were taken into account to ensure the expertise of Delphi panellists, to determine the size of the Delphi panel and to recruit the Delphi panellists. Three stopping criteria were applied and the Delphi evaluation was completed in four rounds. An above average response rate of 88 per cent was calculated over the four rounds of the Delphi technique. Considerations were taken into account in order to enhance the validity and reliability of the study.
The quantitative and qualitative survey instrument for the first round of the Delphi evaluation was based on the draft competence framework and requested respondents to rate the importance of 235 competences towards the enhanced employability of hospitality management graduates. Twenty one additional competences were identified by Delphi panellists during round one. At the end of round four, 195 of all the competences (n=256) were categorised as essential. After careful review, the researcher reduced the competence domains to 22 and the competence statements to 194 in his final proposal of a competence framework for enhancing the employability of hospitality management graduates in South Africa. The competences of the proposed competence framework were categorised within three main clusters. The first two are respectively vocational/hospitality and management based, while the third cluster focuses on the generic graduate attribute concept.
As a directive for enhancing the employability of hospitality management graduates, the competence framework can play an important role in curriculum development; it can be used as a set of standards to judge the employability of graduates against; it can assist to engage students in the process of enhancing their employability; and could serve as a clear description to potential employers of the knowledge, skills, abilities and attitudes that can be expected from hospitality management graduates. The proposed competence framework furthermore supports the second strategic objective of the National Tourism Sector Strategy that deals with the provision of excellent people development within the South African tourism industry. It is recommended that hospitality management academics and employers take note of the important implications the study can have on the enhancement of the employability of hospitality management graduates in South Africa.
Employability, Delphi technique, competence model.