PolyU sets sights on meeting industry demand for experts
Careers in convention and event management are becoming increasingly sought after in Asia, prompting the Polytechnic University to consider introducing a degree course aimed at training future experts in the field.
The university offers MICE as a focus area, both in its bachelor of science and master of science programmes, and is now planning to introduce the subject as a self-financed bachelor of science conversion degree programme for higher diploma and associate degree students wanting to pursue a career in the industry, according to associate professor, David Jones, undergraduate programme director, School of Hotel and Tourism Management.
He said the subject needed to be specialised in view of the growing number of Asian companies holding conventions, meetings, exhibitions and events throughout Asia.
'Many [of these] companies are recognising that it takes an expert with not only planning skills, but also strong management ability to produce successful conferences. Additionally, the venues that service MICE, such as hotels and convention centres, are seeking more management-level staff to service this business,' Dr Jones said.
He said Hong Kong had long been recognised as a leading destination for conventions and events. However, the key factor influencing the growth in the industry today was the number of inter and intra-Asian conventions and events, as opposed to those conventions and events originating from North America and Europe.
'There is a need for well trained managers in the field here in Hong Kong and throughout Asia. The demand is high and growing rapidly. Our objective is to support the industry by producing future leaders for the sector.'
The January edition of CEI Asia Pacific, a leading corporate events magazine, reported that a 2008 industry survey saw Hong Kong voted No1 MICE venue in Asia.
Dr Jones pointed out that in order to consolidate Hong Kong's leading position, it was necessary for the industry to treat MICE management as a profession. 'The industry's support of our programme will be a great start in that regard,' he said.
Polytechnic University graduates with MICE training work all over the world. With the growth of the convention and events industry in Asia, especially in Macau and the mainland, more opportunities will be available to graduates qualifying in the field.