on April 7th, 2022

Back in 2019 EIT’s Dean of Engineering Steve Mackay said that many of the technological advancements in the world are changing the landscape of the engineering industry, and engineering micro-credentials could be the ultimate answer to this rapid change.

It is creating gaps in practical knowledge. Working engineers as a result need constant upskilling to address these gaps, whether it is as simple as knowing the latest safety processes or more in-depth knowledge of new systems.

What is so important is that engineering micro-credentials that are signed sealed and delivered from educational institutions, as well as company training and even online courses, are addressing those gaps and working engineers are the ones who benefit the most.

At EIT we believe that micro-credentials for engineers are the key to helping graduates stay up-to-date with new technologies across the industry, and despite having our own range of these credentials, we also acknowledge that there are numerous ways graduates and working engineers can stay up-to-date. We explore them now.

Free learning resources

It takes self-motivation to master something by yourself, but there are many advantages to it.

LinkedIn, arguably the largest career-minded social media platform in the world, claimed in one of its latest press releases that jobs are changing swiftly, even if you’re in the same position.

Skillsets, according to their data, showed that if you had the same job you have currently your skillset would have changed by around 25%, and it’s expected to double by 2027.

LinkedIn members, for example, added 286 million skills to individual profiles in 2021. The company estimates that 40% of recruiters use skills data when hiring on the platform.

LinkedIn Learning released its 5th annual Workplace Learning Report in 2021, according to this report the top 10 skills more likely to be added to LinkedIn profiles during 2021 included; Operations, Corporate training, HR management, People development, Training
and development, Presentation skills, Learning management skills, Analytical skills, Engineering, and Finance skills.

There is a range of engineering courses available on the platform currently and this includes practical engineering, basic circuits, Python, SolidWorks, and hundreds of other short-form courses (micro-credentials) meant for engineers to be able to gain more skills data.

Depending on what you have access to platforms like Coursera, Futurelearn and YouTube also offer many opportunities for self-learning.

At EIT we host regular online engineering webinars for engineers who want to stay up to date with the most recent trends, new developments, and technology. They are free of charge, usually run for 60 minutes and participants receive a certificate of attendance which can be claimed as CPD hours.

World-class industry professionals and academics run these sessions, and you can ask questions at the end.

The easiest way to get notified of upcoming EIT webinars is to subscribe to notifications on Eventbrite when you register for a webinar.

Photo by Mars on Unplash

Workshops and group training

Group training is most often company-specific and allows engineers’ competencies to become perfectly aligned with their employer’s requirements.

At EIT we see the benefit of in-house engineering group training because of customization, flexibility, and interactivity.

It is also “delivered to your door” by getting trainers on-site, which is a huge benefit for many companies, especially those in remote locations.

one female and one male student discussing engineering work on screen
Photo by Mars on Unsplash

The role of CPD (Continuous Professional Development)

Members of engineering industry bodies are required to keep their skills up to date and relevant to the industry by completing a certain number of structured learning.

With Engineers Australia, Chartered members and NER registrants are required to complete 150 hours in three years. There may be different (or more specific) requirements by other organizations.

Types of learning which can be counted towards CPD may include any tertiary courses, short courses, workshops, seminars, conferences, technical meetings, workplace learning and private study.

As we can see, these are types of engineering micro-credentials in action and provide opportunities for skills development as well as formal recognition.

Photo by Dylan Ferreira on Unsplash

Short training courses

The most popular EIT engineering micro-credentials are our 3-months long Professional Certificates courses.

They are not as labor-intensive and more cost-effective as completing a diploma, Advanced Diploma, or Bachelor's degree, but provide access to similar content and practical experiences that students in the accredited course have access to.

For example, Professional Certificate of Competency in Smart Grids and Professional Certificate of Competency in Renewable Energy Systems are the same units from EIT’s Master of Electrical Engineering degree.

These courses, though short, do demand commitment. To obtain a certificate of completion for EIT’s Professional Certificates, students must achieve a 65% attendance rate at the live, online fortnightly webinars. Students are also expected to use remote labs to build their practical skills.

In addition, students must obtain a mark of 60% in the written or practical assignments, and must also obtain a mark of 100% in quizzes. If a student does not achieve the required score, they will be given an opportunity to resubmit the assignment to obtain the required score.

Marking means that students leave with up-to-date knowledge within their chosen course, and can apply it directly at work.

Photo by Felipe Gregate on Unsplash

Undergraduate Certificates and Graduate Certificates as micro-credentials

Coined as “stackable qualifications” Undergraduate and Graduate Certificates are offered by universities and education providers to give potential students or graduates a taste of what is to come.

Thanks to a unit or module-specific information and study.

With these courses, every engineer can craft their own unique path, not just follow the one set by a university or a training provider (and widen their knowledge into other disciplines of engineering).

The demand for engineering micro-credentials

The paper The value of micro-credentials: The employer's perspective gives insight into why these credentials are rising, and also why they’re needed.

The authors of the paper make the following points:

Employee skills can and should improve. Microcredentials help employers to identify authentic skills of potential employees, and can then also earmark areas that will need to improve during employment. It provides employee-specific training that accelerates employees within their own job.

  • Competency is currency

Industry role players have suggested that competency and experience were valuable to employers, sometimes more than a degree. Participants in the study of the paper reported that recent graduates have mastered the knowledge to get their degree, but that did not always translate to their role within the industry.

Short courses were able to address this.

  • Seat time is not always quality education

Spending years to finish a degree or qualification does not always mean employees have the skills needed within the industry, in fact, the paper believes a combination of short courses is often more valuable for employees. Not only is acquiring micro-credentials easier on the pocket but there’s also versatility in knowledge.

  • Microcredentials can improve chances for further study

Students that have completed a qualification might be more industry-relevant when they complete a range of micro-credentials before transferring to a postgraduate degree. If picked wisely some micro-credentials also count as a credit to complete a degree or postgraduate degree. The combination of solid education with micro-credentials makes someone more employable and not susceptible to the idea of being “over-educated” within their relevant field.

Resources:

 (3) (PDF) The value of micro-credentials: The employer's perspective. Available from: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/341135765_The_value_of_microcredentials_The_employer%27s_perspective [accessed Apr 05 2022].

Read our previous articles on micro-credentials here:

What are micro-credentials

The Changing Landscape of Education: Lifelong Learning and Micro-Credentials

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

The latest news

EIT News

The Must-Visit Engineering Museums

In honor of International Museum Day, why not celebrate the museums that give visitors unrivaled access to everything we love about engineering? International Museum Day takes place on 18 May,... Read more
EIT News

Agriculture Automation Is A New Engineering Frontier 

Population growth, global warming, and the advancement of technology have meant that Agriculture Automation is a needed and positive response to traditional agriculture. Artificial Intelligence (AI) allows for better monitoring... Read more
EIT News

How Not To Let Robots Steal Your Job

When it comes to automation and bold headlines like ‘robots taking human jobs’ one thing is almost never mentioned – how humans are able to keep their jobs despite digitization.... Read more
EIT | Engineering Institute of Technology