Research from global IT giant Cisco in collaboration with Victoria University and the University of Waikato shows local tertiary leaders support the delivery of micro-credentials in partnership with an "expert provider".
"Education is ongoing in the IT world and micro-credentials provide an excellent way to up-skill in highly specialised areas of technical knowledge, like cyber security,” Victoria University of Wellington' head of school of information management Dr Janet Toland said.
Globally, micro-credentials are delivered successfully through partnerships between industry providers and tertiary institutions with a trend toward credit-bearing postgraduate qualifications.
To support the growing need for more cyber security experts, for instance, universities around the world are delivering micro-credentials through partnerships between industry and tertiary providers.
The research drew from global and New Zealand-focused insights with interviews conducted with cyber security academics, career and academic advisors, professional development directors and an IT services manager.
“It really does make sense for New Zealand universities to partner with organisations like Cisco to deliver these courses," Toland said. "We have the educational and research expertise and they have the state of the art technical knowledge to ensure what is offered is exactly what employers are looking for.”
Last month, the New Zealand Qualifications Authority announced it was introducing a micro-credential system as part of New Zealand’s regulated education and training system.
"The introduction of a micro-credential system will help ensure that the New Zealand education and training system remains relevant in a period of fast paced social, economic and technological changes," it said.
Applications for the approval for micro credential courses opened on August 22.
Micro-credentials are likely to become increasingly valuable to tertiary students, Toland said, because they enable students to quickly up-skill in the areas that are most immediately relevant to their careers.
“At the moment there is a lot of interest at the postgraduate level," Toland added. "Mature students appreciate being able to access education in 'bite sized chunks' to fit in with their busy lifestyles."
The research reaffirmed the significance of developing an approach that will support areas of national importance, Cisco New Zealand country director Dave Wilson said.
"Our vision is to work alongside government and education providers to help meet those skills shortages and the challenges facing the growing digital economy,” he said.
This year Cisco celebrated the 20th anniversary of its Networking Academy - an IT skills and career building program available to learning institutions and individuals worldwide. The program has reached 9.26 million students in 190 countries across the globe.
In New Zealand, the academy has partnered with colleges, universities, vocational schools, public sector and nonprofits and has helped over 27,600 students gain industry-relevant ICT skills.
Over 490 students in New Zealand have undertaken Cisco cybersecurity courses to date.