University of Cumbria is set to become one of the country’s first universities to rise to the challenge of helping meet the demands of a £3billion tourist economy and 65,000-strong workforce.
Sitting in the heart of a World Heritage site, the university’s Ambleside campus is about to welcome students from across the tourism and hospitality industry, keen to boost a global visitor destination – and its skills’ pool
A flexible chartered manager apprenticeship in the visitor economy, leading to a degree, is getting underway in September and interest has been high among people in supervisory roles, according to Dr Angela Anthonisz.
With worldwide hospitality experience and an academic background, she is UoC’s new principal lecturer in tourism management and points to an exciting future spearheading the drive for top quality operators and staff.
She explained: “We could not be better placed to meet the vast potential UNESCO inscription brings and help shape an informed, skilled and vibrant workforce.
“It’s about prosperity, pride and boosting our economy. We are also the pioneers of a new post-graduate MBA course in tourism management, which will be starting in September 2020.
“The first of its kind in the UK, it is designed to bring widespread benefit, while allowing students the flexibility of carrying on their jobs as they study.
“We are one of the top tourist locations in the world and want our learning opportunities to link with culture, heritage, tourism management, innovation and sustainability.
“So many assume that working in visitor attractions and hotels are low-skilled jobs. This is definitely not the case. By developing degree and post graduate courses we want to address negative perceptions and help upskill hospitality’s workforce.”
Former senior lecturer at the Emirates Academy for Hospitality Management in Dubai, Dr Anthonisz has held senior managerial and academic roles in Switzerland, Paris and across the UK. She has also run her own hotel business.
She added: “This is about real world learning and the potential is enormous. As we’re offering flexibility, we’re confident of the appeal. There are also plans to develop short courses into currently challenging areas in the visitor economy.”
A UoC Professor of Practice and former head of Cumbria Tourism, Ian Stephens, said the university’s commitment to training and equipping expert hospitality employees would reap rewards for visitors and employers alike.
He added: “All those in the industry should applaud and support this inspirational move, which will have an enormous impact across the Lake District and well beyond.”
Cumbria Tourism’s managing director, Gill Haigh, said: “We are absolutely delighted to have worked closely with UoC to develop this suite of programmes which will provide students with the relevant skills to meet the industry’s growing needs and put them ahead of the game in terms of career progression and opportunities.
“What better place to master your trade than at a university set in a World Heritage Site and in a county offering an increasingly diverse range of full and part-time career opportunities.”
*According to Cumbria Tourism figures, in 2018 Cumbria and the Lake District received over 47 million visitors, made up of 40.4m day trippers and 6.6m overnight visitors. Between them, day and staying visitors combined to produce over 62m tourist days.”