Hospitality management graduate certification and employability in Lokoja, Kogi State Capital City, Nigeria
Adama, Sunday Musa
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The purpose of this study is the need to address the global outcry on graduate unemployment with particular focus on Nigerian employability skills that underpin certification of the hospitality graduates feared not to have been optimally matched with the industry‟s expectations and entrepreneurial opportunities available at the grass root like Lokoja, the Kogi State capital. The study population (981) involved 55 employers and 283 employees in selected hospitality firms in Lokoja; 67 trainers, and 568 students of three hospitality management tertiary institutions within and around Kogi State. An 8-member focus group discussant was drawn from relevant stakeholders and also included in the study population. Sample size for each category of respondents was based on quota, convenience and purposive sampling techniques and all totaled 529. Mixed research design by a way of methodical triangulation was used through structured and unstructured questionnaires, and focus group discussants to increase the validity of evaluation and research findings as common a social phenomenon. Structured form of questionnaire was used in areas quantitative data were required for the study while unstructured form of questionnaire was used to obtain qualitative data through descriptive method. Descriptive statistics involving percentages, bar charts, pie charts, mean and standard deviations were used to explain and illustrate some of the study findings while Friedman test, Wilcoxon Signed-rank test, Mann-Whitney test, Binomial test, and Chi-Square were used to verify the study hypotheses and eventual findings reported. Previous studies were concentrated on general graduate and youth unemployment matters without much being zeroed down to that of hospitality management graduates. Gender inequality, labour force skill preference and un-employability challenges were reported as problems synonymous with hospitality industry. Sequel these standpoints this study had all its hypotheses stated in null at 95% confidence level. The research tested and rejected all the null hypotheses since they were found to be statistically significant at 95% confidence level (p < .05). Certification of hospitality management graduates was found to have positive influence on employability in hospitality industry in Lokoja (omnibus report of Friedman test showed a p value of < 0.008). Unskilled labour force and HTM graduate employability were no closed substitutes to one another. Qualified workforce was the most preferable by the employers of labour in Lokoja (the p value of 0.015 gave 1.5% chances of accepting the null hypothesis and so had to be rejected). Gender and HTM graduate employability were significantly associated to indicate that certain HTM graduate employability were dependent on gender (p value = 0.004). The research also found employment challenges looming on the HTM graduates in Lokoja and recommended that government and stakeholders should enhance and sustain the employability criteria of the graduates through right certification exercises, gender equality and work-life-balance, and enabling business environment.