Local Government Magazine
Public Works

Digital credentials for public works

Digital credentials for public works

IPWEA NZ is working with iQualify to develop a suite of infrastructure asset management micro-credentials using open badge technology. Steve Browning explains.

Infrastructure asset managers provide a much-needed skillset and role within the public works profession. This challenging vocation requires a commitment to public service. It also requires a strong skillset across mathematics, science, finance, economics, sociology, public communications and strategic thinking. It demands ongoing professional development and a focus on continuous improvement.

With support from the Tertiary Education Commission (TEC), IPWEA NZ is looking at how micro-credentials could provide infrastructure asset management training to public works professionals.

As the name suggests, micro-credentials certify the achievement of small steps towards the development of specific skills, experience or knowledge. They validate skills and learning linked to specific workforce demands.

These credentials are a more agile and responsive means of training than traditional methods and can deliver immediate value to employers and learners. They can be brought to market fast to meet new and emerging skill needs.

Learning methods are dynamic and flexible, and the credentials can be endorsed by industry bodies, employer organisations or clients purchasing services.

Micro-credentials are fast gaining traction as a way to teach and recognise competence in a wide range of educational avenues. Recognition of achievement is usually in the form of a digital badge.

These badges are an open source format for recording achievement of learning with in-built metadata describing what that learning entailed, and what competencies the recipient has gained.

We also hope digital credentials will give some long-overdue recognition to the professionals that make infrastructure asset management their life’s work.

Like paper-based certificates, digital badges provide a record of achievements. Unlike paper-based certificates, they can be easily aligned to online profiles or social media platforms and can have evidence and artefacts of learning attached.

IPWEA NZ is now working closely with the team at iQualify to develop a suite of infrastructure asset management micro-credentials using open badge technology.

The New-Zealand built cloud-based iQualify learning management system helps create digital content for courses. It engages students through the learning process, carries out assessments and rewards completion with digital badges. With social learning at its heart, iQualify will deliver the online portions of IPWEA NZ training and issue the digital credentials (badges).

IPWEA NZ’s next steps are to create some learning journeys along career pathways to help illuminate the possibilities of working in infrastructure management.

The lack of a formal pathway poses challenges attracting candidates to asset management from the more traditional training avenues, identifying career paths for talented people that the sector does attract, and recognising the skills and experience seasoned practitioners have gained.

We also hope digital credentials will give some long-overdue recognition to the professionals that make infrastructure asset management their life’s work.

We think the digital course creation platform will help us pass on hard-earned knowledge from those who have passed along this journey already. And we hope that soon it will provide direct career pathways to attract new recruits into infrastructure asset management roles.


Steve Browning is the chair of the IPWEA NZ Training Working Group, and central government manager at Morrison Low. For more information on IPWEA NZ’s digital credentials programme email training.nz@ipwea.org


This article was first published in the August 2019 issue of NZ Local Government Magazine.

 

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