Towards achieving lifelong learning and employability through Ecotourism field trip experiences at the Durban University of Technology.
Author(s)P J Mchunu
Hospitality industry. Hotels, clubs, restaurants, etc. Food service
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AbstractIndustry experience and expertise is commonly the first aspect asked of any prospective candidate by any employer in the field of ecotourism, irrespective of whether the person being asked is a fresh graduate or an expert employee. Employers anticipate and resolve to employ graduates who will ‘hit the ground running’. The higher education has a challenge to equip these graduate with all the skills to match those who are already in the job market. This paper seeks to examine the use of field trip experiences in offering authentic and lifelong learning that prepare students for employability in the Ecotourism industry. A group of ninety, third year Ecotourism management students embarked on a field trip to learn hands on what it is like to work in the bush as their office and interacting with big gameand interpreting what they have learnt to tourists. This qualitative study with a purposive sample comprised of two surveys, one of feelings pre field trip and the other of the actual experience. The comparison is drawn based on the students’ expectations versus actual experience. The results show that not only do field trips provide an opportunity for lifelong learning, career guidance options, boost confidence and increase chances of employability, they also accommodate various learning styles which foster higher levels of success for students.