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Marriott Hotels and the University of Wales launch intensive two-year degree in international hotel management

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In a world first, Marriott Hotels has partnered with the University of Wales Trinity Saint David to introduce a two-year degree in international hotel management within the school of tourism and hospitality, with the first intake being this September.

Students on the course will spend four month blocks alternating between academic lectures at the University and gaining real life skills and experience at the Swansea Marriott Hotel. The partnership will allow the opportunity for training which is tailored specifically towards employer’s priorities.

Marriott will offer in-house training for the students to acquire skills and experience across all areas, starting with food and beverage, front of house and eventually shadowing staff in managerial or financial capacities.

Michael Downie, general manager of Swansea Marriott, said: “As soon as we were presented with the concept of a joint venture degree between Marriott and the University of Wales, we could see it was a fantastic opportunity to use Marriott as a platform to train students on tailored courses which would make them very well equipped to enter the marketplace.

“This degree is a one of a kind at the moment,” he continued, “but it could be taken further within the UK and worldwide.”

Downie also said that Marriott plans to recruit top performing students from the course onto its Voyage graduate training programme. The company, which runs more than 4,000 hotels worldwide, already recruits between 50 and 70 Voyage candidates each year as part of its fast-track management programme. “We’d like the students to have a broad understanding of what it’s like to run a business department within a hotel by giving them a flavour of what it’s like to work in those areas,” he concluded.

In an exclusive interview with Leisure Opportunities, Andrew Campbell, head of the school of Tourism and Hospitality at the university said this is the first two year BA Hons degree designed in response to the demand for shorter courses in light of increasing student fees. Students will do three years' work in two. The course also differs in that there will be three intakes per year, of up to 15 students per intake.

This is the first collaboration globally with Marriott Hotels for such a course and Campbell described it as 'highly innovative'. "The syllabus is being planned in conjunction with Marriott, allowing students a fully integrated experience,” he said.

This is an international course, and is expected to draw students from around the world. They will have the opportunity to study languages – notably Mandarin – something Campbell says is vital as part of the mix. "With an international company such as Marriott, which has international guests and offers international job opportunities and the opportunity to study and learn abroad, we are harnessing the University of Wales's language department as part of the new degree," he said.

The idea for the new degree has been predicated largely on the Welsh government’s tourism growth strategy, which is aiming to develop Wales as a tourist destination using an innovative, project-led approach. Campbell said the degree will “meet a lot of government concerns and objectives and help Wales keep up with a changing world”. It will also ensure relevant, skills-based learning.

The initiative will also supply Marriott with a pipeline of experienced hotel graduates specifically trained in their standard operating procedure, reducing their recruitment and training costs. The importance of the inclusion of Mandarin language modules within the degree is a reflection of Marriott's development pipeline in Asia, where the number of properties will more than double in the next few years, with approximately 60 new hotels planned for China alone.

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In a world first, Marriott Hotels has partnered with the University of Wales Trinity Saint David to introduce a two-year degree in international hotel management within the school of tourism and hospitality, with the first intake being this September.
Andrew Campbell (left) head of the University's school of Tourism and Hospitality with Michael Downie, general manager of the Swansea Marriott
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