Developing micro-credentials for Industry
Industry-led learning for the asset management profession
Client: Tertiary Education Commission and iQualify
Background: The existence of and continuing risk the skills shortage poses to the quality of life in NZ has been well documented by the Fostering our Future Programme.
The Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) and iQualify were interested in the interface between industry and education and if there are innovative and efficient ways of training and educating our workforce. Utility proposed, developed and authored the first-ever digital badges for IPWEA NZ. Their digital badges programme has successfully accredited over 1,000 digital badges and now generates brand new revenues for the organisation.
Problem: Could employer-designed packages of learning (micro-credentials), hosted on a digital platform, help address our skills shortage? The problem was further defined as:
- Relevance and Recognition – There is a lack of a universal understanding of what a ‘suitably qualified’ infrastructure asset manager is. The existing Level 6 NZDIAM is not well known by the industry nor attracting sufficient enrolments to meet skills demand.
- Speed to market – The public works profession has a massive skills shortage. The industry simply cannot wait any longer for intermediaries and educational institutions to supply skilled people through what is proving to be an unresponsive model of service delivery.
- Confidence to invest in skills – Employers lack good information about the competencies that people in the industry currently hold, and educators lack good information about the competencies people in the industry actually need.
- Uncoordinated and siloed – Training options promoted to the industry aren’t well-coordinated nor integrated so when investment in training is made, it often duplicates some of the competencies people already hold, or, it is of little value.
Mission: To test the desirability, feasibility and viability of open badge technology as a method of increased learning and as a creator of career pathways.
Results: Utility found that potential learners welcomed the idea of an online badging system with learning via a combination of text, video and sharing of experiences with the group. The ability to work on courses ‘whenever, wherever’ appealed to modern learners.
To initiate their badging programme, Utility worked with the IPWEA NZ to develop a learning design framework. Bloom’s taxonomy of learning was used to establish learning objectives that could be delivered and assessed in an online environment. Learning objectives aligned with the International Infrastructure Management Manual (IIMM) as core curricula.
The programme goes from strength to strength. In 2021, IPWEA Australasia partnered with Credly to now offer their existing training as digital badges also. The digitisation of skills enables far greater benefits for industry associations and their members.