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Tuesday, March 28, 2023
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    Closing the skill gap

    As the job market becomes increasingly competitive, we see growing demand for new, specialised skills brought about by emerging technologies.

    However, professionals working a regular business hours job often don’t have the capacity to study for a full-time degree. Universiti Teknologi Brunei (UTB) is now offering prospective students the chance to upgrade their skills and knowledge through UTB Postgraduate Micro-Credentials, a personalised 14-week course designed for working professionals and recent graduates.

    The UTB Postgraduate Micro-Credentials programme gives learners the flexibility to choose modules relevant to their professional development without following a structured degree programme, said Director of Tri-CEd, UTB’s centre for continuing education Dr Hajah Roslynna binti Haji Rosli. Students can study one or two modules per semester ranging from subject areas such as Engineering and Technology Management, to Computing and Security.

    By accumulating credit values (CV) for each module, students can work towards obtaining a Postgraduate Certificate (60 CV) or Postgraduate Diploma (120CV) over six years.

    Additionally, learners can also obtain a Master’s degree (180 CV), which includes a research project, over eight years.


    You don’t necessarily need to have an Undergraduate’s degree to be eligible for UTB Postgraduate Micro-Credential programme.

    A Brunei Darussalam Qualifications Framework (BDQF) Level 5 Diploma with three years’ working experience, or extensive working experience/other qualifications may also be considered by UTB on a case-to-case basis.

    Potential applicants should discuss with their employers and professional bodies what competencies and skills are required in their respective industries.

    ABOVE & BELOW: Students at UTB during a class. PHOTOS: UTB

    UTB’s Postgraduate Micro-Credentials are recognised by the Brunei Darussalam National Accreditation Council (BDNAC) and accredited as Level 7 on the BDQF.

    “Having the right qualifications open the doors to opportunities,” said CEO of Belait Shipping Company Haji Awang Haji Ali, also a member of the UTB Council from Industry. “For employers, seeing that their employees are dedicated to learning and expanding their knowledge in their current role – or looking to better their position – gives employers confidence in their staff’s capabilities and drive.”

    Haji Awang added: “If an applicant has the requisite capabilities and drive… then my advice would be to go for it. It’s great that UTB provides these lifelong learning opportunities at very reasonable fees too. Even with years of experience and professional certifications, academic qualifications can still be an important factor when being considered for promotion in your organisation.

    Farah Kong is one working professional currently undertaking modules through UTB’s Micro-Credentials programme.

    “As an HND graduate, I had contemplated taking a part-time degree or Master’s programme, but the thought of juggling family, work, and evening classes was too daunting,” she said. “I was not sure whether I had the drive to commit myself for two years.”

    Farah graduated with a Higher National Diploma from Institut Teknologi Brunei in 2006, and over the past 11 years worked her way up to become an Acting Senior Manager at Brunei Darussalam Central Bank’s Credit Bureau.

    When UTB announced it was introducing the UTB Postgraduate Micro-Credentials programme, she was drawn to the programmes flexibility and value it accorded to working experience. “As cliché as it sounds, I am a proponent of life-long learning and that we shouldn’t stop learning after we graduate.

    “Throughout my career, I am lucky to have worked with employers who had no qualms about approving my application to attend training/short courses related to my job,” Farah said. The mother-of-two is currently taking a module in Data Analysis and Visualisation this semester, after completing a module in Data Science for Business last year.

    “I work with vast amounts of data daily, so it made sense for me to do Data Science for Business as my first module.

    “The programme challenged and forced me to update my knowledge… Interactions with my peers also gave me the opportunity to learn what is happening in other industries – it was good to be able to apply what I learnt immediately at work and then discuss my observations in the next class.”

    Farah said she highly recommends the UTB Micro-Credential programme, especially to those who cannot take time off from work but would like to further their studies.

    “It only required me to attend class once or twice a week – a definite plus for me as a working mother with young children.

    “If I was to dive right into a full Master’s programme after more than 10 years since I graduated, I would have been overwhelmed.

    “After clearing one module in the last semester, I am more confident to follow through with the next,” Farah added.

    “If you are seeking to upgrade yourself with new knowledge and skills to align with the current trends, then this programme is for you.”

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