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Victoria University first to offer micro-credentials

Sarah Putt, Contributor. 14 November 2019, 4:47 pm

For the first time a New Zealand university is offering the opportunity for people to gain micro-credentials. Victoria University's Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences (FHSS) has announced it will now offer two short online certification courses on digital fluency and intercultural communications.

FHSS Dean Professor Sarah Leggott says the courses are expected to take 50 hours to complete, which will mean students can do them from home, work or while on holiday. The implementation follows a pilot in trimester 3 (the summer semester) in 2018- 2019. Participants don't have to be a current Victoria University student to take the micro-credential courses, and while they won't count towards a degree, they will be included in students' transcripts.

"Both micro-credentials are being provided with support from industry partners. Origin Security, figure.nz, Microsoft, Loomio, and Empathy have provided input and content to the current digital fluency course, while Kiwa Digital, and ABLE, are both intending to do so with future iterations of the course. The intercultural communication micro-credential has support from the New Zealand Society of Translators and Interpreters, Interpreting New Zealand, the Department of Internal Affairs, and ABLE," the release notes.

Associate Dean (Academic Programmes) Joost de Bruin says that the micro-credentials being offered recognise that the "future of work is digital and the workforces is growing in diversity."

"While there is a fantastic range of transferable skills in a BA that can be used for any job that students may apply for, we could see the opportunity for micro-credentials to provide more targeted practical skills."

Micro-credentials were introduced by the New Zealand Qualifications Authority in August 2018, but hit the headlines the year before. In October 2017 over 100 companies signed an open letter to the New Zealand public endorsing the idea of qualifications being gained outside the traditional tertiary sector.

"As businesses, we acknowledge that the skills we are looking for in prospective employees can now be developed through a range of pathways. While traditional tertiary education has its place, it is one of many pathways to employment. Internships, apprenticeships, new micro-credentials, on the job training, online courses and badging are all effective ways to learn. For many, the time and cost of gaining a tertiary qualification without certainty of employment means we all need to think outside the box to connect people to jobs and opportunities," the open letter read.

"As such, we confirm that for a range of specific, skilled-based roles in our companies, we do not require tertiary qualifications. These may be roles in technology, sales, marketing, customer service, management, manufacturing and operations to name a few."


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