First hospitality degree students graduate from Middlesbrough College

19 October 2020

Future leaders of the world’s hospitality and tourism industries are among the first cohort of degree level students to graduate from Middlesbrough College.

The group – which includes young learners who’ve progressed from school, as well as mature students – collected their dissertations from the College at an event marking the end of the one year MA Hospitality and Tourism Management course. 

They are the first higher education students to graduate from Middlesbrough College following its ground breaking partnership with The Open University, which offers a wide range of degree-level courses.

Among them is 50-year-old Nasser Shaher-Laheji, from Middlesbrough, a manager of three hotels for StayCity Aparthotels. 

Nasser, who achieved a distinction – the highest awarded level, said: “I’ve worked in the hospitality industry for nearly 30 years, including managing hotels in the Middle East. 

“For me, the course has been about getting a high quality qualification that will help me progress in my management career.  

“As one of the students with significant industry experience behind me it was also really satisfying to be able to help the younger learners.”

The MA students’ dissertations covered topics such as sustainability, human resources management and how behavioural science can be used to understand and build stronger multi-cultural teams – a major feature of the international hospitality and tourism sector. 

Some of the students graduating started studying Level 2 courses at the College and have progressed through to the Level 7 MA course under the support and guidance of the expert teaching staff.

Molly Shaher, program leader of HE Degrees in Hospitality & Culinary Arts Management at Middlesbrough College, said: “We’re incredibly proud of our MA students, who are now ready to take their skills and knowledge into exciting jobs.

“Under the tuition of industry experts our MA course has set them up to work not only in the UK but internationally – giving them the understanding of strategic decision making in this sector. 

“It’s been fantastic to have such a broad range of students from different background studying with us – some just starting their careers and some are changing from other sectors. In fact, our oldest student is 60.”

Middlesbrough College’s partnership with The Open University is delivering jobs-focussed, affordable and flexible degree courses that are designed to give graduates the skills and knowledge employers are looking for.

Courses typically offer more one-to-one time with teaching staff, including smaller class sizes and more teaching hours than traditional universities. The College is also rated Gold in the Teaching Excellence Framework – a coveted Government award programme that scores providers on the quality of teaching and employment success for students.  


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