The University of Chichester
At the University of Chichester the mission is clear; “to be a university community that inspires and enables individuals to exceed their expectations”. With a mixture of undergraduate, postgraduate and foundation/professional courses,
the university is fast becoming a beacon of good practice for high quality, student-centred education.
A lecturer that has embraced this ethos is Dr Andy Clegg, Principal Lecturer for Learning and Teaching at the university. He was keen to deliver an action-based learning module that reflected a real industry context, in the knowledge that this would stimulate and inspire learning as well as enhance student employability in the future.
Dr Clegg introduced the Welcome Management course to a number of degree courses in 2005, including BA Tourism Management, BA Event Management, BA Business Studies and BA Marketing, and has since had 256 students
undertake the programme.
Designed around interaction, the Welcome Management programme encourages students to develop an effective customer service strategy, set objectives and establish a scheme to meet them. They learn the importance of building customer relationships, monitoring and evaluating progress and benchmarking themselves against competitors.
Commenting on how the Welcome to Excellence course has been embedded into the fabric of the University’s degrees, Dr Clegg says: “The key customer service themes within the Welcome Management programme have been integrated into a module which is delivered around workshop-based activities, encouraging critical assessment of service excellence as it would be when delivered externally to industry.”
As part of their assessment students assume the role of Visit England Visitor Attraction Quality Assurance Scheme (VAQAS) assessors and provide a critical evaluation of the overall quality of the visitor experience for a specific tourist attraction. They are given access to a full suite of VAQAS resources to help them conduct a suitable quality audit, enabling them to really put the principles of the course into practice.
Dr Clegg believes that industry recognised training and qualifications are essential to any students looking to progress within a tourism and event based career. Feedback from students on the course has demonstrated the impact that Welcome Management has made to their skills and confidence in securing work in the future.
A BA Tourism Management student says "integrating an industry certification is an effective way of making students more qualified and prepared when looking for jobs within the industry…very worthwhile and looks great on the CV! I think it is a valuable qualification to have which will help my knowledge and impress a future employer."
The Welcome Management programme has provided a true benefit to students at the University of Chichester, ensuring they understand the principles and practices related to the development and management of customer service, with a view to exceeding customer expectation. The opportunity to add real value and a relevant industry perspective through training courses such as this to degree students is invaluable.