Micro Credentials: The Opportunities for Education Providers

Claudia Reiners
December 19, 2018

Micro Credentials: The Opportunities for Education Providers

4bf428ed6af9ff680b7ac8b24b046f3d?s=50&d=mm&r=g Claudia Reiners
Head of Strategy

Now more than ever before, the job market has an urgency for Micro-Credentials.

These mini qualifications and learning experiences are fast becoming essential to professional skill sets, with 95% of HR Managers now actively seeking micro-credentials from potential candidates.


Looking for a more recent update? We’ve just published a new guide. Check out: Micro-Credentials in 2020: The Provider Handbook.

With the advent of the technology age, employers must ensure that their teams are fully equipped with a combination of both hard and soft skills. These soft skills are constantly evolving, and not covered by more traditional, University style qualifications. Micro-credentials fully embrace this need for more fluid, multidisciplinary skill sets, for both employers and employees.

Over the past 12 months, we have seen a 64% increase in micro-credentials courses being advertised on our network, and the student demand continues to grow hand in hand with the increased number of courses on offer. It’s time for education providers to take full advantage of this demand.


Of HR Managers actively seek
Micro-Credentials from candidates

What are Micro-Credentials?

Micro-credentials are certification-style qualifications that individuals choose to study to improve or develop a skill found in a particular industry area.

This type of credential is typically short, low-cost, and more often than not, online. The courses provide learners with a digital certification or a ‘digital badge’ when complete. This new learning concept is quickly gaining recognition and is highly sought after within the professional landscape.

The key difference between micro-credentialing and other qualifications offered by the education industry – such as Certificates or Bachelors – is that micro credentials are delivered as ‘bite-sized’ chunks; illustrating the proficiency in a particular skill. They are developed with a particular industry in mind, ensuring that the qualification meets industry-specific needs, and is relevant and is recognised by future employers.

Micro-credentials are also known to be called:

  • Digital Badges
  • Nano Degrees
  • Micro-Certifications
  • Web Badges
  • Mini Degrees
  • Open Badges

What Are the Benefits for Providers?

Education providers now have the opportunity to facilitate this learning journey, by assisting students in making their transition to full-time employment, giving current employees the ability to upskill in fast-paced industries or make that career-change a lot faster than ever before. In the UK and across both Australia and New Zealand we are seeing continued growth in the microcredentials sector.

Our Candlefox Marketplace demographics show that 2/3 of our prospective students are either career changes or upskillers, meaning the opportunities are plentiful for matching students with the right micro-credentials course.

By offering micro-credential courses, in subject areas such as digital marketing, data analytics and coding, you are opening up your doors to a broader, and ever-growing pool of prospective students. The demand for soft skill-focused credentials is also continuing to increase, fuelled by the need for skills such as leadership, communication and critical thinking in the workforce.

2/3 of all Australian jobs will be soft skill intensive by 2030

Source: Soft Skills for Business, Deloitte

Micro-credential courses can also be easier to deliver for education providers, as a vast majority of courses are available online and can also be completed in a much shorter time-frame. Coupled with the surging demand for these courses, we’re seeing a great ROMI (Return on Marketing Investment) for education providers delivering micro-credential courses.

As well as equipping people with the job skills and knowledge for the workforce, micro-credentials offer a more flexible approach to learning.

Most short courses are not only offered at a lower price point, making them more accessible for a wider audience, they tend to be much shorter than traditional qualifications (from as little as one week to under a year). Most micro-credential courses are also delivered online, giving students more flexibility around the demands of family and work life.

The shorter, more informal learning style of these types of courses also adds to their appeal.

At a fundamental level, education providers should be anticipating the needs of the job market, responding to new market opportunities and looking beyond their traditional course offering.

Why Are Micro-Credentials Important?

Micro-credentials benefit both sides of an organisation (employer and employee), as well as students who are looking to break into a particular industry post-graduation. These modernised, industry-relevant qualifications will see more informed, better-equipped employees in entry-level positions.

As most industries these days are in a continuous state of fluidity, you can be at any stage of your professional career and still gain from micro-credential courses to develop new abilities.

This is not to say that only prospective students can profit from micro-credential courses. Those who are currently in the workforce would have already been exposed to steady changes. Most industries will continue to progress rapidly as a result of collaboration, globalisation and technological advancements such as automation.

By upskilling with a micro-credential, current workers can tighten the ‘skills gap’ that continues to grow between themselves and their fast-paced industry; ensuring that their professional growth remains continuous by keeping up-to-date with relevant and emerging practices.

Providing a Better Alternative to Long-Term Study

With traditional undergrduate and postgraduate courses predicted to disappear within a decade, micro-credentials are offering job seekers a fast-track alternative to entering the workforce or upskilling in key job-specific skill sets.

The latest developments in Project Management, Cyber Security and Digital Marketing (to name a few) are in high demand, and aren’t covered by traditional university degrees. In fact, the tech and digital industries are growing so quickly that it’s almost impossible for traditional institutions to keep pace.


Of existing university degrees will soon be obsolete

In recent years, tech giants in the US such as Google and Facebook announced that they have abandoned College degree qualifications as a prerequisite for employment, and many other companies have followed suite, relaxing their degree requirements in their hiring processes.

A four-year postgraduate degree may not always give someone enough knowledge for a specific job role. This is where micro-credentials come in. They help to mould specific skills with additional mini qualifications, in an informal learning style which aligns with the needs of an industry or sub-industry.

Overall, micro-credentials hold authority in the professional landscape as they help candidates to stand out in the recruitment process and enhance employability potential, and offer a narrow skill to an industry-area that is valued by employers.


Get in touch today to hear more about how Candlefox is helping education providers attract and enrol students in micro-credential courses.

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Claudia Reiners
Head of Strategy
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