At your service: Participants required for hospitality focus groups

A University of Western Sydney study will investigate the employability of university graduates in an industry that places high value on customer service skills and experience.

Karina Wardle, a PhD candidate from the UWS School of Business, is conducting a study of the value of ‘Work Integrated Learning’ (WIL) in the hospitality industry.

Hospitality graduates, employers and educators are invited to participate in focus groups and share their experiences and views of the importance of WIL.

“Employers in the hospitality industry follow distinct criteria when hiring university graduates – and employability does not always come down to book smarts and grades,” says Ms Wardle.

“What employers are looking for, are employees with the ability to hit the ground running and start serving the community from day one. Above all, they are looking for university graduates who already have a wealth of practical work experience.”

Work Integrated Learning is defined as a process of linking theory to practice, and integrating classroom studies with productive work experiences in a field that relates to students’ academic or career goals.

University’s incorporate WIL into their hospitality programs in a variety of ways, including practicums, work placements, internships and cadetships, and consider it an important way of giving graduates an understanding of how work environments operate.

The aim of Ms Wardle’s PhD study is to demonstrate the practical implications of WIL to the enhancement of graduate attributes and employability, and to provide a framework for universities, private colleges and TAFE when integrating WIL into their hospitality programs.

The focus groups are being held in Sydney on Monday 30th April (graduates), Tuesday 1st May (employers), Monday 7th May (educators), and Tuesday 8th May (mixed group).

Hospitality workers may work in diverse businesses and venues, including hotels, holiday centres, bars, restaurants, casinos, theatres, theme parks, health clubs, airports, or retail outlets.

For more information, please contact Karina Wardle: , 0421 087 588.

This study has been approved by the University of Western Sydney Human Research ethics Committee (approval number H8994). The supervisors on the project are Dr Pheroza Daruwalla and Professor Bobby Banerjee.


11 April 2012

Contact: Danielle Roddick, Senior Media Officer