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New Zealand to launch micro-credentials system to future-proof employability

New Zealand to launch micro-credentials system to future-proof employability

Education Minister Chris Hipkins announced
that at the end of August 2018, a micro-credentials
system
will be rolled out to give both employers and people who want
to keep learning more opportunities to access new skills.

According to the announcement
made by the New Zealand
Government
, this initiative was developed by the New Zealand
Qualifications Authority
(NZQA) in close collaboration with the
education and business sectors.

Minister Hipkins explained that maintaining
up-to-date skills will become an increasingly important way to improve and
future-proof employability.

He added that while these skills will
mostly continue to require a full and formal qualification, there are some
cases wherein employers have indicated that learning packaged as a
micro-credential would be more effective.

Micro-credentials are stand-alone education
products that certify the achievement of a set of skills and knowledge required
by industry, professional associations, iwi, or the community.

This will fit perfectly with the Coalition
Government’s Future of Work Programme, which brings together business and
workers alongside Government to plan how they will face the changing nature of
work and industry training.

Minister Hipkins shared that the government
is committed to creating life-long learning opportunities for New Zealanders.

This will be an important contribution to
help people update their skills across multiple careers over their lifetime, as
well as making it easier to refresh the skills they use in their current jobs.

The system will allow the industry to have
an opportunity to work with Tertiary Education providers and Industry Training
Organisations to bring training related to new or in-demand jobs to market
quickly.

This is good for the employers to that they
can easily access the skills they need. It is also good for providers in order to
guarantee that they can respond to local demand.

Moreover, micro-credentials can address
skills shortages across a number of sectors. In information technology, for
instance, companies are looking for digitally skilled workers including coders
and data analytics specialists.

Another example would be in the
agricultural and forestry sectors, which are experiencing shortage of people
capable of using specialised drone technology. In the building industry,
modular design and construction are growing in use.

With the work Building and Construction
Minister Jenny Salesa is leading through the Construction Skills Strategy and
Action Plan, more people will end up pursuing construction-related
careers. 

The micro-credentials system will enable
more people within a shorter timeframe to be qualified within the construction
sector.

Minister Hipkins said the New Zealand
education and training system needs to respond flexibly and innovatively to
fast-paced social, economic and technological changes.

At 5 to 40 credits, micro-credentials are
smaller than qualifications and focus on skill development opportunities not
currently catered for in the tertiary education system. But it will add to and
enhance New Zealand’s regulated education and training system and help ensure
it remains relevant at a time of rapid change.

He shared how he is looking forward to seeing
how employers, industry, iwi, professional associations and others will work
with education organisations to create micro-credentials that meet the skills
that New Zealand needs.

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