Student Learning and Employability: Immersion in Live Events

  • Garth Lategan
  • Melanie Williams
Part of the Tourism, Hospitality & Event Management book series (THEM)


This chapter presents a case study describing a particular approach to providing immersive experiential learning opportunities to students studying a vocational education and training (VET) course in event management. It addresses a gap in the academic literature on this topic, which focuses on experiential learning in higher education courses. The case study is critically analysed in light of the higher education literature in order to highlight the differences and similarities in approach in the two sectors. The analysis reveals that the VET model, perhaps counter-intuitively, provides students with significantly greater access to management experience. It also addresses the gap in understanding reported in the literature between industry and learner needs through integrating the role of teacher and industry mentor. However, the analysis also reveals that the model is not free of risk and would benefit from greater input from pedagogical theory, particularly around the critical role of reflection in making sense of practical learning.


Employability Employability skills Experiential learning Reflective practice 


  1. Beaven, Z., & Wright, R. (2006). Experience! Experience! Experience! Employer attitudes to arts and event management graduate employability. Internation Journal of Event Management Research, 2(1), 17–24.Google Scholar
  2. Bladen, C. & Kennell, J. (2014). Educating the 21st century event management graduate: Pedagogy, practice, professionalism, and professionalization. Event Management, 18(1), 5–14.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Busby, G. (2005). Work experience and industrial links. In D. Airey & J. Tribe (Eds.), The international handbook of tourism education. London: Elsevier.Google Scholar
  4. Daruwalla, P., & Fallon, W. (2005). Experiential learning in events management education: Developing reflective practitioners. In J. Allen (Ed.), Impacts of events: Proceedings of the international events research conference (pp. 587–603). Sydney: University of Technology.Google Scholar
  5. Dewey, J. (1938). Experience and education. New York: Collier Books.Google Scholar
  6. El Kashef, T. (2015). What is the value of event management education? The views of six industry practitioners. Event Management, 19, 1–13.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Elkjaer, B. (2009). Pragmatism: a learning theory for the future. In K. Illeris (Ed.), Contemporary theories of learning: Learning theorists…in their own words. London/New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  8. Ellis, C. (2004). The ethnographic I: A methodological novel about autoethnography. Walnut Creek, CA: Rowman Altamira.Google Scholar
  9. Grima, J. (2013). Employability outcomes of the graduate diploma in event management programme at a New Zealand tertiary institution. In J. Fountain & K. Moore (Eds.), CAUTHE 2013: Tourism and global change: On the edge of something big. Christchurch: Lincoln University.Google Scholar
  10. Helyer, R., & Lee, D. (2014). The role of work experience in the future employability of higher education graduates. Higher Education Quarterly, 68(3), 348–372.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Jarvis, P. (2009). Learning to be a person in society: Learning to be me. In K. Illeris (Ed.), Contemporary theories of learning. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  12. Junek, O., Lockstone, L., & Mair, J. (2009). Two perspectives on event management employment: Student and employer insights into the skills required to get the job done! Journal of Hospitality and Tourism Management, 16, 120–129.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Kolb, D. A. (1984). Experiential learning: Experience as the source of learning and development. New Jersey: Prentice Hall.Google Scholar
  14. Lamb, D. (2015). Learning about events through involvement and participation: The use of experiential and authentic learning experiences. International Journal of Event and Festival Management, 6(1), 73–91.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Leslie, D., & Richardson, A. (2000). Tourism and co-operative education in UK undergraduate courses: Are the benefits being realised? Tourism Management, 21(5), 489–498.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Lockstone, L., Junek, O., & Mair, J. (2008). Experiential learning in event management education: Do industry placements in degree courses complement jobs available in the events industry? In S. Richardson, L. Fredline, A. Patiar, & M. Ternel (Eds.), CAUTHE 2008: Tourism and hospitality research, training and practice: “Where the bloody hell are we?” (pp. 634–652). Gold Coast: Griffith University.Google Scholar
  17. Mair, J., & Frew, E. (2016). Academic conferences: A female duo-ethnography. Current Issues in Tourism, 1–21.
  18. Mair, J., Junek, O., & Lockstone, L. (2009). Event education and engagement with industry: Is it worth it? In J. Carlson, M. Hughes, K. Holmes, & R. Jones (Eds.), CAUTHE 2009: See change: tourism & hospitality in a dynamic world. Fremantle: Curtin University of Technology.Google Scholar
  19. Moscardo, G., & Norris, A. (2004). Bridging the academic practitioner gap in conference and events management: Running events with students. Journal of Convention & Event Tourism, 6(3), 47–62.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Robertson, M., Junek, O., & Lockstone-Binney, L. (2012). Is this for real? Authentic learning for the challenging events environment. Journal of Teaching in Travel & Tourism, 12(3), 225–241.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Rutherford Silvers, J. (2016). Event management body of knowledge project. Julia Rutherford Silvers. Accessed January 12, 2018.
  22. Tribe, J. (2002). The philosophic practitioner. Annals of Tourism Research, 29(2), 338–357.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Trought, F. (2012). Brilliant employability skills: How to stand out from the crowd in the graduates job market. Harlow: Prentice Hall.Google Scholar
  24. Walters, T. (2017). Delivering employable event studies graduates: Student perspectives on the benefits of experiential learning. In C. Lee, S. Filep, J. Albrecht, & W. J. Coetzee (Eds.), CAUTHE 2017: Time for big ideas? Re-thinking the field for tomorrow. Dunedin: Department of Tourism, University of Otago.Google Scholar
  25. Whitelaw, P., & Wrathall, J. (2015). Developing practice oriented undergraduate courses in a quality framework. Quality Assurance in Education, 23(4), 395–409.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Wibrow, B. (2011). Employability skills: At a glance. NCVER. Available at: Accessed March 7, 2018.
  27. Williams, M., Goulding, F., & Seddon, T. (2013). Towards a culture of scholarly practice in mixed-sector institutions. Adelaide: NCVER.Google Scholar
  28. Yorke, M. (2006). Employability in higher education: What it is–and what it is not. York, UK: The Higher Education AcademyGoogle Scholar
  29. Yorke, M., & Knight, P. (2007). Evidence-informed pedagogy and the enhancement of student employability. Teaching in Higher Education, 12(2), 157–170.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.William Angliss InstituteMelbourneAustralia

Personalised recommendations