CNA offerings expand to include microcredentials

Groundbreaking decision paves the way to explore heightened learning

10/2/2020 9:36:41 AM

STEPHENVILLE, NL – For anyone interested in upskilling and advancing in the workplace, but don’t have the time or ability to complete a full program, College of the North Atlantic (CNA) has the perfect solution.

For the first time in its nearly six-decade history of post-secondary education and training in Newfoundland and Labrador (NL), CNA has launched microcredentials, which will pave the way as to how many of its programs are offered in the future.

CNA has been designated as an Amazon Web Service (AWS) Academy provider, and first out of the gate for microcredentials is AWS Cloud Computing, which will be launched January 2021.

The college recognized the need to develop this type of credential that not only responds to growing trends and labour market demand, but also encourages lifelong learning so that today’s employees are adaptable and possess a stronger, more relevant skillset.

Liz Kidd, CNA President & CEO, says demand for enhanced academic credentials is continuously evolving, meaning CNA’s response will put it on the map for current students, alumni, and future graduates.
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“We know that today’s employees need to be adaptable, flexible and current when it comes to their skillsets and services,” said Kidd. “I commend our academic team for ensuring the quality assurance standards for program development continue to be met. We are proud that this is the first time CNA will offer microcredentials. Our team has gone through a rigorous quality assurance process to ensure they meet the highest of standards. CNA is ensuring that our learners are getting the most current, industry-relevant programs available.”

Jason Rolls, Senior Director for Academic Development, explains that what makes CNA’s ability to offer microcredentials so exciting is the fact that it provides direct support to industry sectors and creates a “T-shaped learner”. Employees already have the foundation for their knowledge through previous education (as represented by the stem of the T), but by completing microcredentials, they are expanding their breadth of knowledge (the top of the T).

Microcredential courses or programs can be in addition to, complementary to, or a formal component of another qualification, he notes. The  benefit about acquiring microcredentials is they are stackable (i.e. three or four of these short topics could be combined to equate to one of CNA’s credit courses); portable (recognized by other employers and institutions); and, can be promoted using a digital badge instead of a parchment.

“These are meant to upskill and re-skill workers so they can continue to do their job, or maybe they are ready to step into another role, or maybe they are responding to a profession that has changed since they graduated,” said Rolls. “Industry and the workplace are changing rapidly these days, and many don’t need to return to college for a one- or two-year certificate or diploma to get those skills. In today’s workplace, those T-shaped learners are in demand. They are people who can learn new skills that are not only technical in nature, but also essential skills, such as problem-solving, communication, being able to work in teams, leadership, and critical thinking, as well as adapting to the changing workplace. They are the type of employees that employers want.”

The full expansion of microcredentials will be a part of the college’s academic planning process for 2021 and beyond.

For information about any of CNA’s programs, visit:

Media contact:

Michelle Barry
Communications Manager
College of the North Atlantic