Funding approved for micro-credentials

Three micro-credentials will receive funding from the Government to help New Zealanders gain new skills and balance learning with working, Education Minister Chris Hipkins said today.

Micro-credentials are stand-alone education credits intended for trainees or people in the workplace to access specific knowledge and skills in a cost-effective and time-efficient way.

The Government added micro-credentials to New Zealand’s formal qualifications and training system last August, and changed funding rules late last year so the Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) could fund them.

The micro-credentials approved for funding are:

·Two micro-credentials developed by Competenz that will provide the forestry sector with skilled planting workers

·A micro-credential developed by the Building and Construction Industry Training Organisation (BCITO) to give learners the skills and knowledge to install kitchens to professional standards.

“The Government believes micro-credentials will be increasingly important,” Chris Hipkins said.

“People will need new, up-to-date skills across their lifetime: sometimes a full qualification and, in other cases, a refresh of skills in the form of a micro-credential that will keep workers up to date.

“Micro-credentials are smaller than qualifications, with a tight focus on developing skills to meet the immediate needs of industry, employers, iwi and/or community.

“They are a big step forward in helping learners, employers and businesses keep pace with the changing demands of a modern workplace, allowing the education and training system to respond flexibly and innovatively to fast-paced social, economic and technological change,” Chris Hipkins said.

The three micro-credentials were developed with input and support from industry to help meet local demand.

Notes to editors:

Micro-credentials have been recognised by the New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA) for both provider-based and workplace-based training. The TEC is reviewing further applications for micro-credentials and will advise the outcome later in the year.

1. What are the benefits of micro-credentials?

Micro-credentials help people gain specific knowledge and skills in a cost-effective and time-efficient way. Micro-credentials will be increasingly important as emerging technologies change the nature of work. We are in the early stages of what the World Economic Forum has called a fourth industrial revolution – jobs and the skills they demand are changing, and new industries are emerging. The 2018 Future of Jobs Report by the World Economic Forum states by 2022, no less than 54% of all employees will require significant re- and upskilling.

Therefore all employees and employers need to be committed to lifelong learning. Micro-credentials are one way people can continue to learn while they earn and upskill, so we can better respond to changes in our working lives.

2. How are micro-credentials funded?

The Tertiary Education Commission will subsidise micro-credentials where there is a clear public interest in doing so. Employers, industry, and/or learners can pay for other micro-credentials in full.

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