Micro credentials fast track to high-demand jobs

MICRO credentials are a key part of a new initiative that will fast-track British Columbians to gain the education and skills they need for high-demand jobs.

“Micro credentials are an exciting new initiative for B.C. post-secondary education that will enable learners to get the education and skills they need to access high-demand jobs,” said Anne Kang, Minister of Advanced Education and Skills Training. “My ministry worked with the post-secondary sector, which was quick to accept the challenge to develop and implement micro-credential offerings that would suit learners from a wide range of employment or education backgrounds. I’m confident that the first wave of 24 micro credentials will help people get the skills they need to get back to work and get ahead.”

A total investment of $4 million ($2 million from the Province and $2 million through the Canada-BC Workforce Development Agreement) has enabled 15 public post-secondary institutions to provide short-duration micro credentials for more than 2,000 British Columbians who need to reskill or upskill, so they can take advantage of opportunities in high-demand sectors. These will be especially helpful for those individuals whose employment has been impacted by COVID-19.

“Today’s micro-credentials announcement is an important part of the Province’s economic recovery plan, where $47.5 million is being invested to help thousands of people upskill or reskill to find their place in the post COVID-19 economy,” said Janet Routledge, MLA for Burnaby North. “I’m so proud that Burnaby and communities across the province will benefit from these micro credentials, as people find opportunities to quickly put their new skills to work for themselves, their families and their communities.”

Micro credentials represent an opportunity for learners to access post-secondary education or to enhance their recognized education and skills. Many micro credentials will be credited or recognized as a launching pad toward completion of longer programs. Over time, micro credentials could become “stackable.” This means learners may have the opportunity to combine individual micro credentials to earn full credentials, such as certificates and diplomas.

Because the training that leads to micro credentials is short in duration, learners who have family or work obligations can access training when it suits them, without the time and cost commitment of typical post-secondary education.

The ministry sought proposals from B.C.’s public post-secondary institutions to develop and implement high-demand micro credentials. Twenty-four micro credentials were selected for development and initial offering prior to the end of March 2021. Micro credentials offered include courses related to essential workplace skills, CleanBC and climate action, technology and emerging economies, health and human services, and construction maintenance.

This investment in micro credentials is part of StrongerBC: BC’s Economic Recovery Plan, helping thousands of people upskill or reskill and find their place in the post-COVID-19 economy. The plan outlines the steps government is taking to help people, businesses and communities recover and come out of COVID-19 stronger and better prepared to meet the challenges ahead. StrongerBC is part of B.C.’s $10-billion COVID-19 response, which protects people’s health and livelihoods, while supporting businesses and communities.

Kathy Kinloch, President, British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT), said: “BCIT’s micro credentials give learners a unique opportunity to efficiently upskill or reskill in high-demand industries, allowing them to leverage our unique education model and work towards a certificate, diploma or degree at their own pace. The new BCIT mass timber micro credential fulfils two important economic objectives. First, it reflects the Province’s sustainability goals and, second, provides training in the green technology and material that will be used to build BCIT’s new student housing development on our Burnaby campus. Alongside our micro credentials in digital transformation and natural resource and environmental protection, these educational pathways are an impressive and innovative contribution to B.C.’s economic recovery.”

Quick Facts

* Over the next decade, approximately 80% of job openings in B.C. will require some form of post-secondary education.

* The impact of COVID-19 means many people will need to transition toward more in-demand jobs to support economic recovery.

* People who complete a micro credential may seek more post-secondary education or training, further improving their qualifications and expanding their career opportunities.

* The Canada-BC Workforce Development Agreement is a bilateral agreement providing federal funding to the Province for labour-market programming. It supports British Columbians through a range of skills training and employment supports.