The development of soft skills during internships: The hospitality student’s voice

Published in: Research in Hospitality Management
Volume 8, issue 2, 2018 , pages: 155–159
DOI: 10.1080/22243534.2018.1553386
Author(s): Erwin LosekootNHL Stenden University of Applied Sciences, The Netherlands, Earney LastenRMIT University, Vietnam, Anne LawsonAuckland Institute of Studies, New Zealand, Beverly ChenAuckland Institute of Studies, New Zealand


This paper considers the value of industrial placements in providing an opportunity for hospitality students to develop soft skills in the workplace in addition to the technical skills learned at their educational establishments. While there are concepts such as “problem-based learning” which help students to think across subject silos, this paper argues that internships offer a valuable opportunity for students to learn and for industry to promote their organisations to prospective employees. Using a year’s worth of student workplace diaries, the researchers identify that, in addition to hard skills, students learn communication skills, professionalism, teamwork and personal development. The paper concludes by suggesting that this exploratory analysis of student diaries demonstrates the importance of internships, but that more could be done to increase their value and to make the industry attractive to prospective employees. Opportunities for further research include more gathering and analysis of these documents which give voice to the lived experience of hospitality students on placement.

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