12th July 2023
The Irish Universities Association (IUA) has today launched a new national platform for short, flexible and university-accredited courses, MicroCreds.ie. The website, which was developed as part of the MicroCreds project, was jointly launched by Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, Simon Harris T.D, and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Simon Coveney T.D. at an enterprise-focused event in Dublin.
The MicroCreds.ie platform, the first of its kind in Europe for short university-accredited micro-credentials, is a key deliverable of the ambitious 5-year, €12.3 million MicroCreds Project. The platform brings together hundreds of short, flexible and accredited courses into one central place for learners and enterprise. MicroCreds partner universities have developed micro-credentials in key skills areas including sustainability, digital transformation, data programming, digital disruption, and Fintech to name just a few.
The MicroCreds project is funded under the Higher Education Authority (HEA) Human Capital Initiative Pillar 3 and is led by the Irish Universities Association (IUA) in partnership with seven of the founding IUA universities: Dublin City University, Maynooth University, Trinity College Dublin, University College Cork, University College Dublin, University of Galway and University of Limerick.
The MicroCreds.ie platform has been developed in collaboration with university and enterprise stakeholders, putting the needs of learners at the forefront of visitor experience by utilising extensive user research and testing to make lifelong learning easier and more accessible for both individuals and enterprise.
Speaking at the launch event today, Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, Simon Harris T.D. said “It is vitally important that we make upskilling and reskilling opportunities easier and more accessible for everyone so that we can address skills shortages. The launch of the MicroCreds.ie platform is a prime example of the innovation that has been fostered in Irish higher education through the Human Capital Initiative Pillar 3. It will allow learners to re-enter the workforce, progress in or futureproof their careers. I am also encouraging everyone during the European Year of Skills to embrace lifelong learning and learn a new skill. Sites such as MicroCreds.ie can help achieve this goal in a learner-focused way.”
On the importance of university-enterprise collaboration Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Simon Coveney T.D. said “The recent report from the OECD “Skills Strategy Ireland: Assessment and Recommendations” showed that we are entering a critical period in Ireland for the need of upskilling and reskilling opportunities. Through the work of the MicroCreds Project, we see the impact that direct collaboration between universities and enterprise has on addressing skills needs for society in a meaningful way. Micro-credentials offer organisations of all sizes a solution to upskill and reskill employees in a way that suits both the employee and the employer.”
Commenting on the launch of MicroCreds.ie, the IUA MicroCreds Project Lead Jools O’Connor said “It is very fitting that we are launching MicroCreds.ie during the EU Year of Skills which aims to be a catalyst for the uptake of lifelong learning and upskilling opportunities. The core objective of MicroCreds.ie is to create a national platform for short, accredited courses that makes it easier and more accessible for people to engage with lifelong learning and upskilling opportunities in a way that better suits their personal and work commitments.”
Commenting on the role of universities in addressing Ireland’s lifelong learning targets, Professor Kerstin Mey, President of University of Limerick and Chair of IUA Council said: “Ireland has an extremely ambitious lifelong learning target of 60% of adults engaging in some form of upskilling by 2030. Micro-credentials, which are informed by enterprise, but more importantly are quality assured by leading Irish Universities, offer a perfect solution to help Ireland to reach these targets by 2030. The flexibility and agility of micro-credentials means learners can address specific skills needs in a way that suits them.
She continued “Here at University of Limerick we have developed micro-credentials in collaboration with enterprise in areas such as AI & Machine Learning, Sustainable Organisations and Supply Chain Management to name a few. Our aim, through our involvement with the MicroCreds project, is to work as a collective with our fellow IUA partners to address both regionally specific and national priority skills needs.”