Province announces flexible learning options for Albertans looking to add skills

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Alberta’s post-secondary students will have more flexibility in their education this fall. The provincial government announced a new micro-credential pilot program, allowing students to quickly learn new skills. Erik Bay explains – Aug 30, 2021

Alberta post-secondary students looking to re-train or upskill will have more choices this fall.

The province is introducing 56 new micro-credential programs as part of its Alberta 2030: Building Skills for Jobs plan.

The shorter education courses are meant to help workers access new employment opportunities faster.

“Micro-credentials are designed to be flexible, accessible, allowing people to quickly pivot in their careers or rapidly upskill, while having the freedom to maintain their current lifestyle,” Minister of Advanced Education Demetrios Nicolaides said.

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Programs include animation, agri-business and health technology.

19 different post-secondary institutions across the province, including Lethbridge College and the University of Lethbridge, will offer the programs.

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Lethbridge College has already launched micro-credentials for aquaponics and solar energy installation, and president Paula Burns says it’s about providing diverse options.

“The types of micro-credentials that are being developed across the system are things we didn’t even talk about five years ago. We didn’t even really know what they were, and now we have those micro-credentials in them,” Burns said.

The University of Lethbridge is looking to use the programs to supply a rapidly growing industry in the province: television and film.

University president Mike Mahon says the school is creating a program geared towards that industry.

“This creates the opportunity for many people, including the University of Lethbridge, to play a key role in enabling Albertans to seize the opportunity and help ensure our province has the skills to ensure these projects continue to grow,” Mahon said.

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According to Nicolaides, the programs are meant to help people impacted by the economic downturn.

“There’s been individuals who have faced unemployment or need to learn new skills very quickly without going through a traditional diploma or four-year Bachelor’s degree.”

The province is spending $5.6 million on the pilot program, which could be expanded to include other micro-credentials in the future.


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