KPU’s investment in microcredentials is key for building student skills

Specific credentials are helpful for students to distinguish themselves

Art by Kristen Frier

Art by Kristen Frier

University is a great opportunity to get required skills for different career paths, which is why programs that offer microcredentials could benefit many students seeking new experiences, and proof of their learning and accomplishments. 

A microcredential is a certification that is “additional, alternate, complementary to, or a component of a formal qualification,” according to Colleges and Institutes Canada

While the degree programs offered to students have grown and expanded over the years, microcredentials are given through special types of short courses designed to give students specific skills that many broader degrees may not cover.

Microcredentials are beginning to be the key part for many British Columbians who want specific skills and education for highly competitive jobs in high demand. In the last decade, “approximately 80% of job openings in B.C. will require some form of post-secondary education,” says a B.C. government news release from February last year.

 “Microcredentials 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 skill training in the release. 

Many post-secondary institutions have incorporated microcredentials over the last few years. Some of these include the University of Fraser Valley, Emily Carr University, the University of British Columbia, and BCIT. Examples of approved microcredential courses you might find at these schools teach essential skills for data literacy, assessing climate change, and even long-term home care assistance. 

The skills you develop and the microcredential courses offered are varied, and can be specifically tailored to your career goals and what you may want to pursue but never knew how.

Last year, the Kwantlen Faculty Association raised concerns of “fragmentation of workload and the curriculum, course offering duplication, as well as competition and disputes between faculty and professional areas.” 

While this is a fair point, the current and future benefits outweigh the concerns, and any problems that microcredential courses pose can be addressed and adjusted for over time.

The KFA posted a breakdown of how microcredentials are being put into motion and the way KPU is analyzing both the pros and cons of this before offering these courses. This is unfamiliar territory and the more students show interest or ask questions, the better prepared they are for making final decisions. 

Offering microcredential courses like these is a convenient way to help students pare down what they want to do post-graduation. 

While in-demand jobs look for post-secondary education, the tough competition continues to fill the application pools, and specific skills and experiences are becoming more necessary for potential new hires to stand out. 

Rather than only having a degree in communication, acquiring specific skills in the digital environment that might have been pushed aside otherwise, could be the key to getting your dream position. 

Not only can microcredentials help people hone their specific interests, as well as get them ahead in job competition, they can also give people motivation to find their true career path rather than enduring four years of a degree that may be too broad to offer that kind of direction.