• United Kingdom

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Employment and training in low skills work sectors (tourism, hospitality, retail, wellness)<br/>National workforce/ HR planning for tourism and hospitality

Personal profile

Personal Statement

My academic interests address the social and strategic contexts of low skills employment, with particular focus on hospitality and tourism. This interest stems from over 40 years of experience in the strategic planning and development of vocational and professional education and training, as a research director within the public sector, as an educator in universities and as consultant to the private sector and to public sector, internationally funded projects across five continents. A key focus of my work addresses the role of public and private stakeholders in planning and HRD for the diverse employment environment of hospitality and tourism. Much of my strategic development work in this area has been located in developing country contexts in Asia and Africa. I also collaborate in research which addresses related areas of employment including migrant work and episodic, events volunteering. In all my work in these areas, I adopt a critical perspective on work and the workplace in frontline services that include hospitality, tourism and retail and use academic research as the basis for advocacy or intellectual activism designed to promote change. In this context, I am a founder member of the Global Hospitality Research Alliance (GHRA), a community of scholars from around the world with a common commitment to promoting change to work, the workplace and working conditions in hospitality. Post-COVID, I have been actively engaged with a number of policy-focused initiatives that have focused on this area, including the Scottish Fair Work Convention's Inquiry into Hospitality and the ReWage report on hospitality pay and working conditions.

I have recently been CI on two major international research projects. The first is the the One Ocean Hub (www.strath.ac.uk/research/strathclydecentreenvironmentallawgovernance/oneoceanhub/) which is a transdisciplinary study of the natural and human ecology of the ocean, focusing on improving the lives of communities in the Global South. The second is a Horizon2020 project focuses on new urban management models and mobilities in Europe and partnering 11 major universities. Prior to this, I led funded projects in partnership with universities in Kenya, South Africa, The Philippines and Uganda.

From 2014 until July 2019, I was the Head of Department in the Department of Work, Employment and Organisation and have previously spent 7 years heading up the former Department of Hospitality and Tourism Management and The Scottish Hotel School. I led the development of overseas partnership programmes in Hong Kong and Iran.  I have published extensively on themes relating to people and work within hospitality and tourism and am regularly invited to address international conferences worldwide. I have also supervised over 40 successful PhD students working in this and related areas of HRD in tourism and hospitality and have been an examiner for over 75 candidates.

I hold or have held visiting appointments to universities in Australia, Estonia, Finland, France, Hong Kong, Ireland, Italy, Malaysia, New Zealand, Northern Ireland, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland and Wales. My current Visiting Professorships are with Auckland University of Technology, Universiti Putra Malaysia, Taylors University, Malaysia, the University of Johannesburg and the University of Wales.

I have been a panel member and chair for institutional and programme reviews in 12 countries.

Research Interests

My research focuses on a range of workforce themes and issues in the context of low skills employment. My work places such work in its wider socio-cultural, economic and political contexts. I currently collaborate with colleagues in Australia, China, Hong Kong and New Zealand on projects relating to the first job experiences of teenagers; the future of tourism/ hospitality skills and work; the influence of culture on aspects of management theory; migrant labour in low skills work; gendered work in tourism; and volunteer work in tourism and events.

Expertise & Capabilities

  • Strategic HRD planning in the public and corporate sectors
  • Skills assessments in tourism
  • Education and training for low skills work
  • Volunteer work and volunteer roles in events and tourism
  • Cultural influences on work and workplace behaviour
  • Changing work and employment in frontline services

Industrial Relevance

My work has a strong policy and application focus. Having worked in the management of labour market and skills research in tourism and hospitality at a national level (in Ireland), I have been able to fuse this experience with academic skills to develop expertise which is widely recognised internationally within by governments, the private sector and by global organisations. I have prepared a series of three position papers on tourism workplace themes for the International Labour Organisation, focused on the impact of technology, migrant work and gender opportunities. I have also written position papers on tourism and service employment for COMCEC and UNWTO. I have applied these core skills, professionally, in over 40 countries and my work has been supported by a wide range of international agencies, including UNDP, UNICEF, the ADB, the EU, the World Bank and a range of other NGOs and national donor agencies. 

I am currently a member of the ReWAGE Expert Group, an independent expert advisory group, focused on the recovery and renewal of work and employment in the UK and have convened an expert group within ReWAGE to address issues in hospitality work. I am also academic advisor to the Fair Work Convention's investigation into hospitality work in Scotland.

Teaching Interests

  • International HRM
  • Labour mobility and migration
  • Workforce diversity

Academic / Professional qualifications

I hold BA(Hons) and MA degrees in Education from the University of Wales, Aberystwyth, an MPhil in Training and Development obtained while working with Nottingham Trent University and a PhD in Tourism Labour Market Studies from the University of Strathclyde. In 2017, I completed my DLitt degree from the University of Strathclyde, based on my published work in the field of tourism and employment over a 30 year period.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 1 - No Poverty
  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 4 - Quality Education
  • SDG 5 - Gender Equality
  • SDG 8 - Decent Work and Economic Growth
  • SDG 9 - Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure
  • SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities
  • SDG 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities
  • SDG 12 - Responsible Consumption and Production
  • SDG 13 - Climate Action
  • SDG 15 - Life on Land
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

Education/Academic qualification

Doctor of Literature, Tourism Employment, University Of Strathclyde

1 Sept 20157 Jul 2017

Award Date: 7 Jul 2017

Doctor of Philosophy, Tourism Labour Markets, University of Strathclyde

Award Date: 1 Jan 1993

Master of Philosophy, Evaluating Teaching and Learning in HE, Nottingham Trent University

Award Date: 1 Jan 1982

Master of Arts, Absenteeism in Secondary Schools, Aberystwyth University

Award Date: 1 Jan 1977

Bachelor of Arts, Aberystwyth University

Award Date: 1 Jan 1975


  • low skills work; employment; tourism; hospitality; labour market planning; education; training


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