KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 28 — Malaysia’s workforce, including professionals, must keep improving themselves through micro-credential offerings so that they adapt and be relevant to the new normal in areas such as information technology and digitalisation or be left far behind.

Human resource experts are increasingly advocating micro-credentials as they specifically address the areas companies are urgently in need of upskilling, while the courses are short, barely taking five days to upskill participants, and most importantly, cost-effective.

Gajendra Balasingham, the chief executive officer of GKK Consultants Sdn Bhd, said micro-credentials are the best solution for urgent changes as employability, resources, finances and time are critical to addressing today’s manpower shortage.

Among all emerging business industries, the country’s IT industry is facing dire manpower shortages as the necessary skills are not being extended at tertiary levels fast enough.

As a result, many undergraduates are opting for micro-credentials too as it helps to fix particular immediate gaps within a short span of time.

Like in other developed countries such as Canada and China, a similar trend exists in Malaysia where 78 per cent of tertiary students prefer online learning as it means cheaper fees rather than conventional face-to-face sessions.

He said that online learning is the preferred trend in China at 78 per cent and Canada at 83 per cent.

As a leading Asean-based human resource consultancy, Gajendra said GKK strongly urges Malaysian employers and employees to move in this direction as “micro-credentials is today’s buzzword.” With micro-credential courses taking barely five days to upskill participants, the industry looks forward to more and more professionals taking the initiative to improve themselves.

Micro-credentials specifically address the areas urgently in need of upskilling, so it is the perfect and immediate solution to bite-sized learning.

In Malaysia, many e-learning portals such as Udemy, Simplilearn, and even LinkedIn are popular and have gained good traction, even issuing certifications upon completion.

Elaborating on its advantages, he said such courses also do not cost as much as professional certifications, and with finances being ever so hard to earn these days, micro-credentials are the perfect way to move forward.

“There is also scientific data that proves when things are learned in small measures, there are more positive results with goals achieved than in big, long-term learning,” he said.

GKK Consultancy is working towards getting their own training micro-courses certified by many world-certification bodies, he shared.

“Today’s technology-inclined world demands a constant, continuous upgrading of skills, both personal and work-related so as to stay adaptable and relevant,” he added. “Adapt to the new norm or be left far behind! Such is the urgent advice to many employees to upskill their current qualifications.” Another crucial point is that micro-credentials seem to be addressing the dependency on foreign workers, provided it is aligned with the immediate needs of the industries.

It is important to ensure that the most relevant and suitable programmes are offered for immediate relief.

“However, an advisory panel from various government agencies and universities needs to be set up so that their advice, guidance, and even certification could help to offer what is immediate and much needed,” he said. “Micro-credentials are helping to address immediate demands in Malaysia, but it has yet to be fully endorsed among local talents.” — Bernama