University and industry cooperative education partnerships: a case study

Document Type

Conference publication

Publication details

Breen, H 2003, 'University and industry cooperative education partnerships: a case study', in RL Braithwaite & RW Braithwaite (eds), Riding the wave of tourism and hospitality research: proceedings of the Council of Australian University Tourism and Hospitality Education Conference, Coffs Harbour, NSW, 2-5 February, Southern Cross University, Lismore, NSW. ISBN: 1863844899


Cooperative education is described by the World Council and Assembly on Cooperative Education (1985) as a strategy of applied learning developed and supervised by an educational institution in partnership with an employer organisation. Relevant work experience is part of the academic program. Anticipated industry benefits include improved skills for employees, higher staff credentials, research projects that benefit the workplace and increased business competitiveness. Higher education institutions might anticipate access to shared industry knowledge and technology, increased revenues and being responsive to national economic demands. In-depth interviews were used to analyse the perceived advantages and disadvantages of five tourism and hospitality cooperative education partnerships. These partnerships were located in the School of Tourism and Hospitality Management at Southern Cross University, Lismore, Australia. Results of the research for tourism and hospitality organisations in descending order of importance include the encouragement of organisational learning, improved depth in staff resources, heightened professional credibility and better two-way communications. The university saw an advantage in building positive industry relationships and a credible reputation. In contrast industry disadvantages include a scarcity of resources and a clash of culture between education institutions and industry bodies. The university reported a similar clash of culture involving some staff resistance to change.