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Competences in higher education tourism internships

Raquel Ferreras-Garcia ( Universitat Oberta de Catalunya , Barcelona, Spain)
Jordi Sales-Zaguirre (School of Tourism and Hospitality Management Sant Ignasi, Universitat Ramon Llull , Barcelona, Spain)
Enric Serradell-López ( Universitat Oberta de Catalunya , Barcelona, Spain)

Education + Training

ISSN: 0040-0912

Article publication date: 23 October 2019

Issue publication date: 3 January 2020




The purpose of this paper is to examine the level of correspondence between the academic training received by students and the demands of the job market. This was achieved by analysing the competences that are developed in internships to provide useful information for universities, students and tourism companies.


A quantitative analysis was carried out using questionnaires administered to the supervisors of students on curricular internships. The level of tourism competences of students on the bachelor degree in Tourism and Hospitality Management at the School of Tourism and Hospitality Management Sant Ignasi was assessed. A descriptive analysis and comparisons of means were carried out to investigate differences in competences between students undertaking internships, according to the hotel department and category.


The results of the study indicate that students undertaking internships improve their competences. Whether they undertake internships in one department or another does not affect the level of achievement of most competences. However, the category of a hotel does influence the level of development of the acquired competences.

Research limitations/implications

A questionnaire should be administered to students on their perceptions of the achievement of competences, as this could be compared with the supervisors’ perceptions.

Practical implications

The study generates extremely valuable information for companies, universities and students, as it reveals which competences are attained and to what extent. Based on these results, universities can adapt their training activities and the hotel industry will have information on learning processes during internships.


The analysis provides an innovative research, a real assessment by employers of the competences attained. It also identifies the need for more research on the subject related to employers’ perceptions of the level of competences that students develop in the workplace.



Ferreras-Garcia, R., Sales-Zaguirre, J. and Serradell-López, E. (2020), "Competences in higher education tourism internships", Education + Training, Vol. 62 No. 1, pp. 64-80.



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