New micro-credentials system a first for New Zealand

  • Hon Chris Hipkins

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

“Maintaining up-to-date skills will become an increasingly important way to improve and future-proof employability,” Chris Hipkins said.

“While these skills will mostly continue to require a full and formal qualification, in some cases 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.

They fit well with the Coalition Government’s Future of Work Programme bringing together business and workers alongside Government to plan how we face the changing nature of work and industry training, Chris Hipkins said.

“This government is committed to creating life-long learning opportunities for New Zealanders and this system is 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.

"Micro-credentials will provide industry with 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. That’s good for employers to access the skills they need, and for providers to ensure they can respond to local demand.”

"Micro-credentials can address skills shortages across a number of sectors.

“This includes information technology, where companies are crying out for digitally skilled workers including coders and data analytics specialists; the agricultural and forestry sectors, which are short of people able to use specialised drone technology; and the building industry, where modular design and construction are growing in use.”

“The work the Building and Construction Minister Jenny Salesa is leading through the Construction Skills Strategy and Action Plan will result in more people pursuing construction-related careers.  Micro-credentials will enable more people within a shorter timeframe to be qualified within the construction sector.”

Mr 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.

“The micro-credential system 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,” Chris Hipkins said

The initiative was developed by the New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA) in close collaboration with the education and business sectors

“I look forward to seeing how employers, industry, iwi, professional associations and others will work with education organisations to create micro-credentials that meet New Zealand’s skill needs.”

Note to editors:

NZQA will consider applications from New Zealand TEOs for the approval of micro-credentials and their delivery using amended Training Scheme Rules from late August 2018.

A separate service will evaluate the content of micro-credentials from international organisations and New Zealand organisations that are not tertiary education organisations, to establish equivalence against the New Zealand Qualifications Framework (NZQF). NZQA will issue equivalence statements that will enable learners and employers to understand the level and credit value of education and training products against the NZQF. This service will be available from October 2018.

NZQA consulted on proposals for recognising micro-credentials in March and April 2018, you can find more information about this here

Further information on micro-credentials can be found here.

Construction is a key industry for the delivery of the Government’s priorities such as Kiwibuild.  The Construction Skills Strategy and Action Plan is expected to drive a rapid and sustainable shift that delivers the right people at the right time with the right skills to meet New Zealand’s current and future needs.

Further information on the Construction Skills Strategy and Action Plan can be found here