Micro-credentials pave the way to a brighter future

With targeted learning, it has never been easier to upskill

Micro-credentials pave the way to a brighter future

As industries evolve at a rapid pace, workers across Australia face a pressing question.

How do I keep my skills up to date?

Technologies are advancing faster than ever and staying on track of accelerating skillsets can feel like half the battle.

According to the 2021 Udemy Workplace Learning Trends Report, workforce upskilling or reskilling increased from 14% in 2019 to 38% the following year.

The pandemic played a pivotal driving factor in that jump, highlighting the skills gap many businesses are facing in light of increased digitalisation.

That’s where workforce training and micro-credentials come into play, says Claudia Reiners, head of product management at Training.com.au, Australia’s largest education marketplace.

The benefits of micro-credentials

“What micro-credentials offer is relevant, targeted training for specific industries,” Reiners says.

“Gaining micro-credentials helps to answer exactly what the workforce needs and where the demand is, rather than spending money and time on something that is not as practical.”

Read more: How the COVID-19 pandemic is changing work

Defined as online learning experiences with linear qualifications, micro-credentials offer the opportunity to upskill from anywhere, playing an important part in redefining the workforce of the future.

Rather than lengthy degrees and diplomas which cover a broad range of topics, the bite-sized content is targeted at your industry or role.

While its unlikely traditional learning routes will become obsolete, this focused way of upskilling enables employees to be agile in an everchanging landscape.

The case for lifelong learning

Whether it’s due to a shift in career path or developing a specialisation, micro-credentials are a useful tool for workers at any point in their careers.

“If you look at something like IT, it’s an industry that moves rapidly,” Reiners says. ‘But continuous learning enables people to react to the demands of the workplace.”

Upskilling and reskilling has always been a focus in fast-moving industries but the pandemic has sparked an even faster shift in digitalisation.

The Future of Jobs Report 2020 published by the World Economic Forum suggests that 15% of our workforce is at risk of disruption.

Looking beyond 2020, the job market will expand into uncharted areas such as cloud computing, big data, encryption and e-commerce.

Digital displacement demands new and emerging skillsets and is one of the biggest driving forces behind the increase in workforce upskilling or reskilling.

As certain jobs become obsolete and new roles are created, the importance of micro-credentials has never been more apparent.

The increasing need for soft skills in a post-pandemic workforce

Technology, cyber-security, business, and finance are the leading industries for micro-credentials. However, as Reiners points out, the pandemic has highlighted the need for soft skills in the workplace too.

“There’s an increasing importance of soft skills which you’re unlikely to develop in an old school way of learning,” she says.

“Personal development, corporate communications and emotional intelligence are all examples of areas that can be targeted through micro-credentials.”

Read more: Strong L&D could be the key to recovery

One such skill highlighted in response to the COVID-19 outbreak was the power of empathy.

In a time of great uncertainty, a people-centric approach has helped business leaders and HR teams to guide their staff with confidence.

Reiners says the pandemic hasn’t just altered the type of skills we need to do great work, but also how we learn.

“The way people consume and are educated has changed. We were already seeing a huge push towards flexible learning beforehand but now it’s been more important than ever,” she says.

“Having flexible online learning experiences has helped people to upskill, retrain and reenter the workforce.

“Ultimately you can build a skillset that can be stackable into an official qualification which would not have been accessible to everyone previously.”

Want to explore ways to upskill or reskill your business? Click here to find out more.

Recent articles & video

Huge outsourcing case goes before Federal Court

Workplace harassment law set for overhaul after government vows to take action

Why employers need to engage in FWC proceedings

Ramadan: How can HR support fasting employees?

Most Read Articles

New Zealand confirms date of Trans-Tasman travel bubble

Right to disconnect: Will employers take the next step?

Working from home guilt: How to get over it