New management degree from GMIT’s hotel school

The Hotel School at Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology (GMIT ) is offering a new three-year degree in Hotel and Catering Management aimed at people working in the hospitality, catering and tourism industry who wish to upskill and earn a management degree while working.

Referred to as the “block degree”, the Bachelor of Business in Hotel and Catering Management has been re-structured to run over three years as opposed to four. It will be delivered over four blocks of study with two seven-month work placement experiences.

The programme commences in September 2009 with students spending one semester (four months ) in college. In January, they commence the first seven-month work placement in an Irish hotel. They return to college in September and study for a second semester followed by a second seven-month work placement in Europe or the US. In the final year, students return to college in September and study for one full academic year (two semesters ) and complete the programme the following May. Students sit exams after each semester in college and are also assessed while on work placement.

The programme is open to anyone who has worked in the hospitality and tourism industry for at least one year. If applicants are currently working in the hotel industry they may use their current employer for their first work placement experience.

Cáit Noone, head of the Hotel School in GMIT says this newly structured programme will appeal to many people. “This programme suits so many different learners. Many people need to work and study and this programme allows them to do both. Colleagues in the hospitality industry praise the excellent skills sets of these students as they are learning and developing new skills and extending their knowledge at the same time. Many leading industry figures in the hospitality and tourism industry in Ireland today are graduates of this programme”.

“All work placements are organised by the GMIT Hotel School Links Office which the Hotel School opened last year. Staff in this office work with all students to help organise, monitor and support all aspects of work placement. If students are not affiliated to a hotel the Links office will work with them to find an appropriate work placement provider,” explains Ms Noone.

“This block programme may also suit colleagues who have lost their jobs in recent times and are looking to update their skills and knowledge and return to the hospitality industry. The Government has stated that certain categories of unemployed will not have to pay registration fees. We’d advise anyone interested in applying for this programme to contact the local social welfare office for further details. Despite recessionary times there are still many jobs in this sector throughout Ireland so why not take advantage of this exciting opportunity,” added Ms Noone.

Cian O’Broin, General Manager of Hotel Meyrick, Eyre Square, Galway, who graduated from the block release programme in 1998, says “The course gave me a very practical and realistic understanding of the industry so there were no major surprises when I started in the industry.”

“My industry placements were with the Connemara Coast Hotel, The Mespil Hotel in Dublin, and a 5-Star hotel in Germany. On graduation, I joined the Eyre Square Great Southern as graduate manager and was promoted to operations manager and then General Manager in the Corrib Great Southern before becoming GM of Hotel Meyrick. The block degree programme allowed me to put what I was learning into practice during placements.”

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