by Ethan Paquet
Holland College is now offering a way to help bridge the gap between post-secondary education and industry skills shortages on PEI.
Relatively new to Canadian colleges, microcredentials are short, formal courses that recognize the achievement of specific skills, competencies, or learning outcomes as identified by industry sectors to meet specific employer needs. Once completed, students receive a digital badge that can be shared on social media accounts, included in an online resumé, or added to an email signature.
Natalie Mitton, Vice President of Academic and Applied Research at Holland College, says the constant labour and skills shortages have driven the need for this offering as a way to help Island industries by training and upskilling their current workers.
“Industries are looking for specific, targeted skills. Through microcredentials, they can upskill, reskill, or introduce skills to their existing employees. They are competency-based, industry-driven and endorsed, so in moving forward, students will have successfully demonstrated competency in the skills needed by the industry.”
The microcredentials can be delivered in person, online, or a combination of the two. The courses usually range from six to 25 hours. They are kept short by focusing on a limited number of workplace skills, and offer several advantages.
“For students and job seekers, these courses can support and enrich our existing programming,” says Natalie. “For workers already in the sector, the courses can upgrade their skills. And for the industry, we can complete the training very quickly to meet their specific needs.”
The College currently offers eight microcredentials that were specifically designed with PEI’s industry labour and skills needs in mind, which include the following:
The Supportive Care Assistant program is a fully-subsidized training opportunity that allows students to discover a new career and provide much-needed support to those living and working in long-term care.
Students complete six weeks of online training including learning modules such as professionalism, client and family-centred assistance, communication, supportive assistance, and infection control and safety. They go on to gain work experience through a work placement in a long-term, community care, or home care setting.
Students who complete the Supportive Care Assistant course may be eligible to receive a $5,000 stipend to put toward further training in a related healthcare field such as Resident Care Worker.
“We were aware of the labour shortages in the healthcare industry on PEI, and we looked at what colleges across Canada had built that we could offer. Colleges and Institutes Canada developed the microcredential, and we adopted it.”
The New Manager Training series contains seven microcredentials to help new managers excel in their workplace, including areas such as:
- communication skills
- human resource management
- performance management
- team building skills
- leadership skills
- essential manager skills
- organizational behaviour
“The local bioscience sector had a real need to upskill existing employees into management and leadership roles, so they came to us. It is very specifically industry driven.”
The intent is that other Island industries will reach out to discuss their skills needs and work with the College to develop training that suits their individual needs.
“Our offerings are driven by the needs of the sector. It could be one company coming to us and saying they have a specific need, and we can help support and deliver the training. We will collaborate with other colleges and potentially look at some joint opportunities in the future, but it needs to be data-driven and industry-driven.”
For more information about microcredentials offered by Holland College, click here