Professional Development through Work Integrated Learning in Tourism and Hospitality – alive in South Africa


  • Joram Ndlovu University of KwaZulu-Natal


Tourism, tourism training, curriculum development, work-integrated-learning, industry skills, knowledge


Tourism is regarded as a modern-day engine for growth and is one of the largest industries globally. South Africa has earmarked tourism as a key sector with excellent potential for growth and development. With its spectacular scenery, friendly people, world-class infrastructure, South Africa is becoming one of the most desired destinations in the world. Being a labour-intensive sector, with a supply chain that links across sectors, tourism is a priority sector in the government’s planning and policy frameworks and it is perceived to be one of the six job drivers of the New Growth Path framework. To realise this vision, the government has embarked on skills enhancement drive to complement the tourism growth strategy. Initially tourism training was conducted in Technikons, and vocationally oriented colleges. With the introduction of tourism and hospitality education in conventional universities, a lot of programmes have sprouted up. But to what extent do the current curricula address the training needs in the industry? This paper argues that tourism and hospitality training should address the immediate needs of industry by preparing students for career related occupations. On one hand most graduates from conventional universities tend to delve deeper into more abstract issues, they tend to lack immediate skills that are demanded by employers.On the other hand graduates from colleges lack the aptitude and skills to drive innovation. Whilst higher education institutions play a significant role in the development of the hospitality and tourism industry manpower, they are failing to provide industry with knowledgeable graduates who are highly skilled with positive aptitudes, attitudes and behaviours towards work. The overpowering challenge facing higher education institutions is how to overcome the perceived lack of credibility of higher level hospitality and tourism management programs by the labour market. This paper identifies Work Integrated Learning (WIL) as the vehicle to prepare graduates for employability. The paper concludes with a set of critical success factors for higher education institutions, implications to curricula development and necessary industry partnerships.

Author Biography

Joram Ndlovu, University of KwaZulu-Natal

Howard College Campus

School of Social Sciences

Culture Cluster


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How to Cite

Ndlovu, J. (2015). Professional Development through Work Integrated Learning in Tourism and Hospitality – alive in South Africa. Asian Journal of Education and E-Learning, 3(2). Retrieved from