What are Micro Credential Programmes and Why Should You Consider Pursuing One?


From Tiktok to Netflix, we all recognise that consumption needs have evolved & the educational landscape must keep pace too & be tuned to meet the busy world of today's learners. Let’s unpack how Innopharma Education is delivering a selection of micro credential programmes that do just that & how it’s meeting industry needs of upskilling and reskilling individuals for the high-tech manufacturing sector. It's a lucrative employment opportunity where Advanced Manufacturing accounts for 36.7% of GDP in Ireland & where digitisation is transforming all areas of enterprise. 

What are Micro Credentials?

Micro credentials are part-time, online, QQI accredited courses which are 30 ECTS or less, a fabulous entry gateway to expand your knowledge & skills. Gone are the days of signing up to study for multiple years & commuting to classes. What’s in demand are accredited, easily accessed stackable programmes, delivered as blended learning which provides a highly flexible learning environment. 

They are a bite-sized component of a certificate course, enabling people to use them as a stepping stone back into learning & higher education. They address both individuals looking to develop their skills & companies seeking quality training to address skill gaps within their workforce.

The Evolution of Micro Credentials in Higher Education

Whilst short courses have been available in various formats for many years, in June 2022, the Council of the European Union (EU) adopted a European approach to micro-credentials for lifelong learning and employability. It outlines the landscape of micro credentials & recognises a growing number of people need to update and improve their knowledge, skills and competences to fill the gap between their formal education and training and the needs of a fast-changing society and labour market. It provides recommendations & seeks to support the development, implementation and recognition of micro-credentials across institutions, businesses, sectors and borders. 

The result is a game changer in approach, catapulting micro credentials from niche into mainstream. Ireland has really taken the lead & is the first European country to establish a coherent National Framework for quality assured and accredited micro-credentials. 

Why Micro Credentials are Gaining Traction in Ireland

By removing the typical barriers to participation in lifelong learning, including time constraints for learners and inflexibility in current programme provision and delivery, micro credentials are fast gaining momentum in Ireland & are endorsed by IUA, HCI  & the Government of Ireland. According to an article by Dr Lynn Ramsey Director, MicroCreds & Tony Donoghue Chair, Expert Group on Future Skills Needs, Ireland’s small size means that the universities, National Skills Architecture and Enterprise are used to working together collaboratively, and the European Commission regards Ireland as a ‘microcred’ champion states that momentum has stemmed from an ambitious 5 year, €12.3 million project (2020-2025) led by the Irish Universities Association (IUA) in partnership with seven of the founding IUA universities. 

Key Benefits of Micro-Credentials

The practical benefits of micro-credentials are clear. 

  • Their inherent flexibility means that learners can access learning in small bite sized units, at a time and pace which allows greater balance with both life and work commitments.
  • Learners get ECTS credits just like any other higher education course & that means their skills are recognised by all European institutions and most employers. 
  • Importantly it creates a much needed bridge between further education & higher education & that makes it very enticing for a variety of learners & not just those happy to embark in full time study. 
  • For employers, micro credentials can help meet the skills gaps that they have identified, or where future skills gaps are anticipated. Everybody wins!

Are Micro Credentials worth it?

According to Quality & Qualifications Ireland (QQI) there is a definite boom in micro credentials because they create a learning path for today's world of  diverse learners in terms of age and gender.  Micro credentials are seen as a key mechanism to support continuing professional development and lifelong learning. So the answer to your question is yes, micro credentials are absolutely worth pursuing. 

The typical entry point is at NFQ level 6 with 10-30 ECTS & are delivered on a part-time basis. From an individual's perspective the boost in knowledge & confidence can make all the difference in securing a promotion or a new job. According to a Silicon Republic, from an employer’s point of view, paying for an employee to do a short course is much cheaper than paying for them to do a full degree. It means they can learn a new skill fast and put it to use within the workplace.

Innopharma Education and the Power of Micro Credentials

Innopharma Education is an award-winning, premier education, research and technology institute for industry-led education and training programmes in the Pharmaceutical, MedTech, Food Science and Digital Transformation Industries​.​ To deliver Level 6 micro credentials it partners with the Advanced Manufacturing Training Centre of Excellence (AMTCE) creating a private/public approach with clear pathways for learners in terms of a framework of scalable countrywide structure. AMTCE recognise that a skilled workforce which evolves in response to technology advancement and opportunity is critical to the sustainable success of companies as they navigate through the digital transformation of their businesses. This belief underpins the partnership in delivering micro credentials for the Pharma/Food sector. 

At Level 7 the new Certificate in Operational Excellence and Sustainability in Supply Chain micro credential offers a stepping stone into the full Level 7 BSc in Process Digitalisation, offering a very practical 8 month course for those who want to dip their toes in before committing to a full degree!

Why Choose Innopharma for Your Micro Credentials Journey?

Innopharma has its eye on what industry needs & what future skills will be in demand. Courses are designed to meet current and future skills needs in Digitisation across the areas of Operational Excellence, Supply Chain Operations, Data Visualisation and Analysis, IT & Industrial Automation and Transversal Skills for a Digital Workplace. The courses vary in length between 6 weeks & 5 months, are industry-led, delivered by industry lecturers & learners receive a QQI accredited Certificate & a digital badge. Weekly classes are delivered online (live recorded) & monthly face-to-face classes are at the modern & easily accessible Innopharma Education college in Sandyford, Dublin. 

Micro Credentials Courses Offered

Innopharma offers a selection of micro credentials with additional programes becoming available starting in 2024. At Level 6 there are two 5 month course options: Certificate in Supply Chain (QQI Level 6 - Special Purpose Award 20 ECTS) is designed to meet a growing industry demand for increased knowledge and competence in the key business functions of Supply Chain / Operations Management and Project Management. 

If a short & practical course will boost your career focusing on key transversal and business skills then the Certificate in Transversal Skills (QQI Level 6 - Special Purpose Award 5 ECTS) is for you. It helps learners develop and demonstrate new specialist skills and knowledge to effectively work in an increasingly digitised environment. 

If you already have 20 Level 6 ECTS credits on the National Framework of Qualifications in Science, Engineering, Quality or related discipline or your career experience to date can be taken into consideration then our eight month Certificate in Operational Excellence & Sustainability in Supply Chain (Minor Award – 30 ECTS) is an option for you. 

With plans to add a Certificate in Data visualisation and analysis & a Certificate in IT and Industrial Automation along with the Certificate in Operational Excellence in 2024 now is the perfect time to consider the best fit for your needs.

Final Thoughts: Your Path to Upskilling with Micro Credentials

As microcredentials gain traction in the Irish job market, they offer a valuable opportunity for both employees and employers to embrace and foster lifelong learning. These bite-sized, industry-aligned credentials not only equip individuals with the skills needed to stay ahead of the curve but also provide a new way for employers to invest in career development and upskilling for employees.

Studying at Innopharma Education gives you the skills advantage you need for a rewarding career in high-demand industries & the fact that they are funded (criteria applies) & supported by the government & sought by industry makes them very appealing. With plenty of micro credential courses to choose from in 2024 Innopharma Education is renowned for offering advice & guidance in helping you make the right choice. 

Take the first step today by contacting us, visiting the micro credentials course page on our website to register your interest & an Innopharma Team member will contact you to help you with your decision. (Registration has not yet opened for all courses)

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