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The COVID-19 pandemic provided some unique challenges this year including lockdown, physical distancing and job losses, as well as remote learning and working.

Almost overnight thousands of workers were displaced across the country, including Gold Coast hairdresser Siobhan Mulqueen who was stood down after restrictions mandated the closure of salons.

However Siobhan turned her uncertainty into an opportunity by enrolling in TAFE Queensland’s range of free mirco-credentials.

The 30-year-old spent her newly found free time upskilling in a range of areas such as customer service, business and accounting.

“I’ve been in the hair and beauty industry for 12 years and after I was stood down I decided to use the time to upskill and see if there was anything else out there that I might enjoy doing,” she said.

“What I loved about doing the micro-credential courses is that they only take an hour or so and I don’t have to commit to a year of learning if I don’t like the subject. I quite liked the data analysis skill set as it was something completely new to me.”

As businesses across Queensland started to re-open, Siobhan began looking for a job equipped with her new skills and she was successful within a matter of weeks.

“I truly believe the micro-credentials got me over the line when applying for my current hairdressing job as I had enhanced my skills and also proved I was a self starter and eager learner.”

Siobhan said the micro-credentials not only helped secure a new job, but also mentally and emotionally got her through her time in self-isolation.

“I am so thankful to TAFE Queensland for supporting me through the lockdown period by providing free skills and training,” she said.

“Doing the micro-credentials kept my mind focused and motivated me to put my free time to good use knowing when things started to go back to normal I had new skills to show potential employers.”

TAFE Queensland General Manager on the Gold Coast, Karen Dickinson said in response to the pandemic TAFE Queensland developed a range of ‘isolearn’ micro-credentials to help people affected to re-skill, upskill and recover.

“Isolearn micro-credentials aimed at not only enabling workers that were stood down to gain new skills, but also upskilling existing workers, allowing them to adapt to the changing demands of their workplaces and industries,” she said.

“The training was designed in close consultation with both industry and government and is providing Queenslanders with valuable technical, digital and soft skills that will support businesses as they adapt and recover.”

Micro-credentials are short, highly targeted online courses designed to improve career prospects, allow workers to maintain currency in their fields or give them the chance to try something completely different.

Each completed course comes with a digital badge that can be verified online and used as evidence of completion.

LEARN MORE ABOUT MICRO-CREDENTIALS

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TAFE Queensland