The Barbados Government has been advocating for the further use of short courses by its nationals through entities such as the National Transformation Initiative via their partnership with the world’s largest eLearning platform Coursera. This comes as part of the government’s commitment in Strategy 4 of the Barbados Economic Recovery and Transformation programme (BERT) to ensure a comprehensive retooling of the Barbadian workforce so that Barbadians become world-class individuals in the world of work by 2030, capable of attaining any job anywhere around the world. These NTI Coursera short courses offer opportunities for training and education in new skill areas and re-training in others to help develop skillsets for in-demand digital and human skills across all levels. These tools will be critical given the increasing dynamics of the means of production in almost all sectors due to the technologies emerging everyday.
Short courses provide advantages over university degrees and other longer format programmes as they are less of a financial and time commitment. The scheduling and location flexibility afforded by short courses allows individuals who may be time-constrained already, to further their skills and knowledge on a schedule that suits them ideally.
Shorts courses are invaluable for professional development given the opportunities they provide for industry-specific nature of course material that allows an individual to grow in technical competencies while building inner confidence. This can make them more competitive within industry job markets, as their enhanced skillsets are now a value-added dimension that makes their expertise more relevant to industry trends when coupled with their degree (if they have one).
Short courses are an excellent means of addressing gaps in an individual’s professional abilities without the extensive investment of longer-term programmes. The benefits include skill development, professional development, career exploration, and if pursued using the stackable learning content model, offer a feasible path to furthering studies. The final advantage of short courses is that they also serve as a means of getting one’s feet wet in any subject area. Exploring new vistas may open a new door of professional opportunity. The experience can inform the next steps regarding the choice to undertake longer-term programmes such as university degrees.
Whatever short course you choose to prepare you for the new world of work, remember you need both digital and human skills. The World Economic Forum predicts 149 million digital jobs by 2025, but equally they project 3.3 billion jobs requiring human skills. Short courses can get you well equipped in both.
Lisa Gale C. Dir.