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Small business owners in New Zealand can learn digital skills, at no cost

SOURCE: Spencer Platt/Getty Images/AFP
Small business owners need to improve their digital skills.


By U2B Staff 

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Small business owners and workers in New Zealand who are at risk of being left behind in an increasingly digital business environment will now be able to obtain new skills online via Zoom.

This initiative is led by award-winning educator The Mind Lab which will offer its Digital Skills in the Workplace programme at no cost to participants until the end of 2020.

The Digital Skills for the Workplace programme is accredited by the New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA), the government agency responsible for New Zealand qualifications.

The learning provider will offer courses that range from website creation and management to social media and search engine optimisation and business planning and finance.

The programme structure consists of a seven-week part-time micro-credential course, conducted entirely online, which will enable working professionals to upskill themselves while maintaining their jobs.

Upon completion, programme participants will earn a level 7 qualification that is worth 15 credits.

Additionally, students enrolled in these programmes will receive guidance in other areas, including digital project management, cybersecurity, online collaboration, and communication.

The course, which will be open for enrolment again in October this year, will teach participants how to evaluate and determine what digital channels, tools, and training their workplace or business needs, and how to set up and confidently run them.

Programme participants will also have the opportunity to complete a project that is directly related to their industry or small business.

The programme will enable students to take part in ‘online classrooms’ each week that includes breakout sessions with practical application.

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Founder of The Mind Lab, Frances Valintine wanted to offer the course at no cost to acknowledge the toll the pandemic had on small business owners.

By offering the courses to participants for free, eligible New Zealanders will be able to leverage on this support to weather through the adverse effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Valintine said, “By June it was abundantly clear that organisations and individuals who had invested in the development of digital systems, processes, and the associated knowledge and skills were able to move relatively seamlessly into a virtual world.”

She added that developing skills and knowledge in those areas can take businesses forward and mitigate the impact of COVID-19.

Valintine explained that the programme was designed to address the skills gap problem in the country that exists “after the majority of New Zealanders complete education in their mid-20s, and often don’t learn again.”

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There are two versions of the programme, each designed for individuals and small businesses.

“Our micro-credential in Digital Skills for the Workplace was developed specifically to provide practical, hands-on solutions for people wanting to learn the skills they need to succeed in their role or in their business,”

She added, “We also wanted to ensure that at a time when many training budgets have been reduced that tuition fees would not be a barrier to skills.”

The courses are suitable for a majority of Kiwis who are seeking free upskilling opportunities, including those starting up a small business.

The courses are also ideal for individuals, or small business owners wanting to improve knowledge in their current role and those about to enter or re-enter the competitive job market.