How effective are collaborations between education and entrepreneurs in the tourism sector?

Currently, ETFI is working on the monitoring Tourism Collective Friesland (TCF) project on behalf of different partners in education, provincial government and entrepreneurs in Friesland. The purpose of this project is to evaluate how effective collaborations between education and entrepreneurs are in the leisure, tourism and hospitality sector the province of Friesland.

Influence of the changing environment

Frisian entrepreneurs increasingly lose grip of the constantly changing environment they are working in. Needs of tourists continuously change and entrepreneurs find it difficult to adjust their products and services exactly according to what tourists want. This is because of entrepreneurs having a lack of time, the gap in knowledge and other issues that make it difficult to deal with these constant changes.

Hub spots for students and entrepreneurs

As a result, students with different educational backgrounds, for example, students from Tourism and Leisure Management at NHL Stenden University of Applied Sciences are working on real-life projects for entrepreneurs in the tourism, leisure and hospitality industry. Two hubs in Grou and Sneek are created that should make it possible for students to work on their projects, meet entrepreneurs and/or establish cross-connections with other students and their projects in order to learn from each other. Besides, working on such projects ideally matches the DBE educational system of NHL Stenden.

Evaluating the collaborations between students and entrepreneurs

Before students have started working on their projects, ETFI carried out a baseline assessment in order to see what expectations students had regarding working on real-life projects together with entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurs were also asked to report their expectations. When projects will be finalised, both parties will be asked to evaluate the collaborations. In this way, we will be able to see the outcomes of the projects, the collaborations that have been set up and how both parties experienced these collaborations. In the end, we will be able to compare the outcomes from the operational side with the objectives that have been established on the program level. In this way, we can see positive aspects and/or improvement points that might be implemented as action points in the next phase of the TCF project.