Simon Caruana

Simon Caruana

Profile

Background

I have been teaching for over 20 years starting in secondary schools.  Now I teach mainly at a 6th form and part-time at the University of Malta.  I have taught computing, ICT, in general but have also delved in more detail in e-business, e-learning.  Currently I am working/developing a series of units related to ICT and the field of Tourism and Hospitality. I had also a stint at with my own business related to tourism; a scuba diving school – I am qualified scuba staff instructor and First Aid instructor. I got my first degree from the University of Malta and my Masters from the University of Sheffield.

What motivated me to undertake PhD study?

I was always interested in looking at skills/competencies that graduates require in order to become net contributors when at the workplace. Being able to assess and accredit a particular skill would be extremely useful to a graduate as s/he would be able to work towards achieving the required skill competence level.

What makes me passionate about my subject?

The potential of being able to develop and provide a mechanism whereby HE students can acquire a particular competence, get it assessed and accredited and as a result improve their career prospects in a highly challenging economic environment.

What are my plans once I have completed my PhD?

Pursuing an academic-related career and the development of a consultancy role in the field of intercultural competence, assessment and accreditation.

Research interests

Submission Date: August 2016

Employers have expressed concern that Higher Education graduates have inadequate/incomplete soft skill-sets, thus unable to quickly take up roles within the workforce and rapidly become active contributors/leading figures.  For example, being unable to interpret the cultural signals coming from the customer is often a critical factor for not providing a high level of service.  Such skills shortages jeopardise economic recovery, growth and competitiveness (ACTE, 2010; OECD, 2012).

Southall (2009) highlights the value of cultural awareness in tourism, and Smith, et al. (2010) look at culture-related skills as being fundamental within a transnational work environment.  As tourism and hospitality is inherently a multicultural environment, the aim of this study is to identify the ‘Essential 21stC Cultural’ skills for the Maltese hospitality industry by interviewing key policy-makers. 

The next step is to identify the appropriate Intended Learning Outcomes (ILO’s), as proposed by Biggs and Tang (2011), involving students, and staff for these ‘Essential 21stC cultural skills’.  These culture-related skills can be incorporated into the undergraduate curriculum to determine whether by ‘aligning’ tasks and other activities will enable the students to reach these ILO’s.  To facilitate feedback, reflection and assessment, a cultural competence theoretical framework will be developed. This will also enable academic staff assess the level of competence acquired for a given skill and formally the accredit it

 ICT will play a fundamental role in facilitating the entire process of setting up the ILO’s, facilitate students’ submission of evidence, provide immediate feedback, encourage students to reflect on their work and formalise the assessment and accreditation by tutors.