Micro qualifications are educational programs introduced to promote short, skill-oriented courses for people of all ages, much like micro-credentials. The courses are designed to be flexible and easily accessible for employees.

micro qualifications
micro qualifications

The Department of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation, and Science in Ireland has introduced a new concept to the vocabulary of Irish learners: micro qualifications.

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In line with the trend of micro-credentials, this education initiative, launched last year, encourages individuals of all ages to pursue short, skills-focused courses. The aim is to offer flexible delivery and easy accessibility for employees.

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The government, evidently a proponent of the ‘micro’ format, has decided to use it again for this recent education-related launch. The 24 new micro-qualifications are skills programs to be delivered by Ireland’s network of local education and training boards (ETBs). With 16 ETBs across the country, these courses will be available in diverse locations.

Industry-developed, the courses target employees with little or no cost to employers. Collaborators in the development include Solas, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland, Irish Water, IDA Ireland, Enterprise Ireland, and the Regional Skills Fora.

Similar to micro-credentials provided by third-level institutions, micro-qualifications aim to address current skills gaps, focusing on areas such as sustainability, digital skills, advanced manufacturing, robotics, aquaculture, business innovation, and market development.

Simon Harris, TD, the Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation, and Science, emphasized that initiatives like micro-qualifications are delivering benefits for both employees and employers. These qualifications are fully accredited and can lead to levels 4, 5, and 6 on the National Framework of Qualifications (NFQ).

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Andrew Brownlee, CEO of Solas, highlighted that these courses will ensure enterprise responsiveness to the evolving world of work, technological advancements, and commitments to addressing climate change. He noted the shift towards a more flexible education and training system, emphasizing the need for continual upskilling and reskilling throughout lifetimes and careers.

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