Ticket to success
One of the most popular programmes at Polytechnic University's school of professional education and executive development (PolyU Speed) is the bachelor's degree in travel industry management.
The top-up degree programme is open to applicants holding an associate degree or higher diploma in a similar subject. Students over 25 can apply as mature students, even if they do not hold an associate degree or diploma.
Taught both part-time and full-time, over a period of 18 months, the course aims to equip students with the knowledge, skills and attitude to play a strong role in the development of the travel and tourism industry in Hong Kong and the mainland.
Ice Yeung (pictured) will graduate from the 18-month full-time programme in three months' time, and expects to use her qualification to go on to a successful career within the industry.
'I think it's important for anyone considering a career in the industry to get an honours degree,' the 23-year-old said. 'The market has become extremely competitive.'
She said that the traditional route up the career ladder for people in the industry was to start at the bottom, in roles such as housekeeping. But now even frontline staff needed a bachelors degree.
'Having a bachelors degree will help staff get promotion to managerial and supervisory levels,' Yeung said. 'The degree is a ticket into the industry.'
Yeung chose PolyU Speed as her grade point average of 3.6 was not enough to get into PolyU's renowned school of hotel and tourism management. As many of the staff from the school also taught at Speed, she assumed that it was a good option. 'Also, for my first year we studied on the PolyU campus.'
All students in the course must complete at least 500 hours of industry experience before they graduate. This usually takes place over the summer holiday period and students can choose to arrange the work experience themselves or the school can help them to find a placement.
'I did my internship with the Hong Kong Airport Authority and the experience really broadened my horizons,' Yeung said.
When she started she was contemplating a career in the hotel industry but her work experience and other modules had opened her eyes to more careers in the industry.
'I took classes in cruise line management and air transport management and now I'm thinking of maybe trying for a career in those areas,' she said.
For anyone thinking of starting out on a top-up degree programme, Yeung has these words of advice. 'You should really think about what you are interested in and study that. Also, you should start thinking about your future career development and ensure that what you choose to study will really benefit you.'