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Micro-Credentials Offer Bite-Sized Skills to Boost Youth Employability

At 45,4%, South Africa's youth unemployment rate dwarfs the national average (32.9%), highlighting the struggle many young people face entering the workforce. While a traditional university degree can increase job prospects, factors like cost, time commitment, and location often make it inaccessible. Furthermore, 35,5% of young South Africans are NEET (Not in Education, Employment, or Training), further compounding the problem.


“A means to reducing this is through online micro-credentials, which are compact courses certifying specific skills and knowledge that can overcome these barriers by providing young people with access to learning, thereby improving their chances of employability,” says Dr Andrew Dickson, Engineering Executive at CBI-electric: low voltage. “These could expedite the journey from learning to earning, particularly in sectors where specific industry skills are lacking, such as those required for South Africa’s energy transition, and where employers are looking to address talent shortages. Additionally, online micro-credentials could provide older people with opportunities to upskill themselves.”


He explains that unlike university degrees with their broad curriculum, micro-credentials focus on specific skills and knowledge, delivered through short, personalised, and often on-demand learning experiences, catering to learners seeking flexible and affordable learning opportunities. “A quick skills upgrade in a specific area can enable learners to develop competencies that are in-demand, potentially making them stronger candidates in today's competitive job market.”


“Along with being a more cost-effective way to upskill in a shorter time, micro-credentials can be stacked to create a unique skills-based CV showcasing a candidate's evolving skillset,” adds Dr Dickson. “Stacking micro-credentials allows learners to progressively build their proficiencies, keeping them relevant in a changing job market. These portable skills empower them to consider lateral career moves and demonstrate their current capabilities to potential employers.”


South Africa faces a R1.6 trillion loss in unrealised economic potential due to the skills gap. “Micro-credentials offer a solution for employers seeking to bridge this gap and nurture talent,” he shares. “By offering micro-credential opportunities, companies can attract individuals invested in continuous learning and retain valuable employees. This ongoing development allows employees to gain niche skills quickly, enabling them to adapt within the company and contribute to overall productivity.


“Unfortunately, micro-credentials are still viewed as non-credit bearing in South Africa, yet policies are slowly being introduced to recognise their value. While formal recognition is underway, there's an opportunity for businesses across the board to take the lead. Our young people are the key lever in growing our economy, but it is our collective responsibility to give them the tools to do this. By empowering our youth with micro-credentials, we can enable them to adapt to the ever-changing business environment and unlock their potential. In doing so, we pave the way for a brighter economic future for all,” concludes Dr Dickson.


CBI is offering online short courses for FREE, to all individuals and companies - please click the following link to register and enrol: REGISTER


Register on the CBI eLearning site, select a course and enrol. It is as easy as that!  Once individuals have completed the course and quiz successfully, they will receive a certificate that they can save, share and print.

Register today at lms.cbi.co.za