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Vocational and Higher Learning

The challenge of keeping up: A guide to SME retraining

28 Jan 2021

Opinion editorial from Tim McFarlane UP Education Chief Sales and Marketing Officer. 

Let’s face it. The world is changing so fast it’s hard to keep up sometimes.

Covid just proved this when we were all forced to work from home or adapt our jobs to continue operating – with varying degrees of success.

How do we stay ahead of the curve and stay gainfully employed at the same time? Learning isn’t something that finishes when you graduate – or at least, it shouldn’t.

As business owners, it’s important to be able to keep up and adapt swiftly as industries experience dynamic change.

According to the World Economic Forum Future of Jobs report, 75 million jobs worldwide are expected to be displaced by 2022, while 133 million new jobs will be created.

What types of skills could you be learning to help you adapt and add value in your current role? How can you expand your skill set without compromising on your career momentum?

What would you like to be learning to widen your skillset and keep up with the demands of modern consumers?

Conversely, as a business owner, could you be offering upskilling opportunities to your employees to boost experience within your team, benefiting your business in the long term?

Rather than place their career in hiatus to undertake a prolonged, conventional qualification, people can opt for micro-credentials – short, low-cost online courses, which provide learners with a digital certification or an authenticated ‘digital badge’ when complete.

Anyone in any stage of their professional career stands to gain from educational micro-credential courses to develop their abilities and stay current.

They are a new means of recognising and certifying peoples’ skills, knowledge, capabilities and accomplishments, and allow learners to connect with new opportunities.

With the speed at which new industries are emerging and new skills are needed to navigate the business world, the concept of micro-credentials is continuing to gain recognition.

The qualifications are becoming highly sought after within the professional landscape, with 95% of human resource managers actively seeking micro-credentials from potential candidates.

In this technological age, employers must ensure their team is fully equipped with a combination of both hard and soft skills.

Micro-credentials provide an opportunity to work with tertiary education providers and industry training organisations so Kiwis can continue to refine and calibrate their skills, and employers can take on new team members with the right expertise.

Digitisation is a key area for Kiwi businesses to upskill in, especially in the wake of COVID-19. Retraining or upskilling displaced workers in digital skills benefits them and improves the productivity and resilience of digital businesses and the economy as a whole.

The Digital Skills Forum notes that while there is strong demand for digital skills across all industries, New Zealand has tended to place an over-reliance on foreign rather than locally developed digital workers.

The strict, COVID-enforced border controls, likely to remain in place for some time, will hamper the ability of these skilled migrants to enter the country in the numbers required.

Micro-credentials give people a practical incentive to be life-long learners. In 2021, a year of renewal, micro-credentials will continue to gain recognition, offering Kiwi workers and employers alike wonderful opportunities to adapt and thrive.

This article was published on Stuff. Read more.