Tourism skill gap in Midlands could be plugged by talented CU Coventry students, says key figure

Pictured: CU Coventry students and John Dishman, Pro-Vice Chancellor of CU Coventry; Marion Greenhalgh, Helen Peters; Simun Wolles.
CU Coventry

Students on a nationally-acclaimed course at CU Coventry could play a key part in helping fill a regional skills gap in tourism and hospitality.

The third-year students taking Tourism and Hospitality Management showcased the finest food, drink, costumes and cultures from countries around the world during a two-day ‘Cultural Carnival’ – as they prepare to finish their degrees in 2020.

The students, many of whom are set to fill vacancies across the region, set up stalls at CU Coventry – part of the Coventry University Group – showcasing cultures from all sorts of different countries, including Brazil, South Korea, Mexico and Lithuania.

Helen Peters, Chief Executive of Shakespeare’s England and the chair of the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership’s (CWLEP) Culture and Tourism business group, visited the event to see the students in action.

She said: “This is a fantastic initiative set up by the students here, and it bodes so well for tourism in our region.

“I was very impressed to hear that this is the second-most successful tourism management course in the country – and I can see why now that I’ve visited.

“Improving our tourism offer in the coming years will be crucial to the region and is a key element of the work of the CWLEP. These students are key to the future success of the industry.”

The event was all part of a practical assignment for the students, which tested their ability to organise and promote a large event.

Student Simun Wolles, based his stall on his home in the Faroe Islands, part of Denmark which lies far to the north of Scotland.

Many staff and students enjoyed sampling Faroese salmon, and some even treated themselves to a shot of akvavit – produced especially in the Faroe Islands.

Simun said: “I have really enjoyed the Tourism and Hospitality course here at CU Coventry – I’m definitely a people person so I felt it was perfect for me.

“Coming to Coventry was a big step for me – most students from the Faroe Islands head over to Denmark.

“I shouldn’t have worried. Although I only applied for a one-year course here to begin with, I loved it so much I wanted to stay and complete the full three years.”

And Marion Greenhalgh, Tourism and Hospitality Course Leader, said this project meant students were able to demonstrate both practical skills and academic knowledge within a meaningful assessment.

“Although this was a fun event for everyone at CU Coventry to enjoy, our students had to apply event management practice to meet the needs of the audience and their assessment.

“Internationalisation is a key pillar of CU Coventry’s corporate strategy and events such as this clearly demonstrate that we take the subject and its application seriously but they also allow us to celebrate the diversity of our students and organisation.

“All the students successfully combined a range of business skills to produce a wonderful Cultural Carnival, and having Helen here to see what our students can do made for a very positive and entertaining experience.”