Reimagining Skill-Development in Canada: Top 5 Benefits of Micro-Credentials
December 8, 2021
For years now, industries worldwide have been raising red flags about an emerging skills gap resulting from increased digitization and automation in the workplace. Today, this skills gap is larger than ever before. The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly accelerated digital transformation across the globe and has fundamentally changed the way we work. Employers everywhere are now finding it hard to find qualified workers and are actively searching for fast and efficient ways to reskill and upskill the existing workforce.
According to the World Economic Forum, 50% of all employees will need reskilling by 2025 as technology adoption increases.
As we work to recover from the effects of the pandemic and continually adapt to keep pace with digital transformation, it’s becoming more and more clear that it’s time to reimagine and reengineer skill-development opportunities here in Canada. We need innovative, responsive and flexible skill-training solutions that can meet the current needs of our evolving economy and tighten up the growing skills gap.
Fortunately, micro-credentialing programs are emerging as a viable solution and are quickly becoming a significant part of the education landscape.
According to Colleges and Institutes Canada, a micro-credential is a certification of assessed competencies that is additional, alternate, complementary to, or a component of a formal qualification. At Actua, we like to think of them as mini-qualifications or nano-degrees that demonstrate skills, knowledge, and/or experience in a specific subject area or capability. They take less time to complete than a full degree or diploma and may include practical on-the-job training or work experiences. Micro-credentials are most often issued in the form of a digital certificate or badge. They may be issued by a corporation, a college or university, professional organization or credited course provider to a person who has completed a specific training course, activity, assessment or project.
There are many benefits of micro-credentials, but here are the top five benefits currently:
- Micro-credentials are fast and focused.
Micro-credentials are typically shorter, faster and more focused than traditional degrees or diplomas. They can take anywhere from a day to two to a few weeks to complete and, in most cases, equip the participant with in-demand skills and knowledge in a specific subject area or capability. For that reason, they can help you easily keep pace with the latest, most in-demand skills.
- Micro-credentials are approachable and accessible.
Micro-credentials are a more approachable and accessible way to gain in-demand skills to help participants enter or reenter the workforce. They can be relatively inexpensive and are offered in various formats, including live or on-demand. For that reason, they can usually be completed in your own time and at your own pace.
- Micro-credentials are stackable.
While micro-credentials can act as stand-alone learning experiences, many are also stackable, meaning they can be built upon with further opportunities for a larger credential or qualification. These bite-sized learning experiences are also easier to obtain, which can encourage participants to seek additional learning opportunities, widening their educational and career pathways.
- Micro-credentials allow you to explore various career pathways.
Because micro-credentials are not a substantial time commitment, they can help the employed and unemployed explore various learning opportunities or fields of work before fully committing to a degree or more traditional educational pathway.
- Micro-credentials provide employers with a realistic view of someone’s skills.
Unlike a traditional degree that demonstrates someone’s theoretical understanding and knowledge of a broad topic, micro-credentials (like STEM education) focus on building practical, real-world skills. So, while a degree can illustrate to employers what you may know, a micro-credential can illustrate what you can do.
Actua & Micro-credentials
Actua empowers students and educators with practical tools and resources to help youth foster a curiosity for STEM and gain the skills and confidence needed to pursue higher education and succeed in the rapidly evolving workforce. We are now offering micro-credentials opportunities to recognize youth and educators for specific skills or competencies gained through our training.
Late last month, Actua issued its first micro-credential to over 70 teachers participating in its Kikandaaswiwin Mookiisin InSTEM Teacher Training. Designed and delivered by educators and community leaders, the training provided educators with a deep understanding of how Indigenous land-based knowledge and STEM education can align to create greater success and educational outcomes for all students.