News & Events

Digital Badge Symposium 2019

18 Nov 2019
Speakers at the recent Listowel Food Fair Business seminar

Skillnet Ireland and University College Cork Explore How Digital Badges are Shaping the Future of Workforce Development


  • As the world of work is changing, the way in which skills, expertise and achievements are being recognised and rewarded is evolving.
  • Ireland’s first ever Digital Badge Symposium took place in Cork on Thursday the 14th of November
  • Leading businesses such as LinkedIn, Musgrave Retail Group and Velo Coffee shared their views on the value of digital badges and their relevance to industry
  • UCC showcased the range of digital badges they have awarded, in partnership with industry through the Taste4Success Skillnet
  • Digital badges, also known as ‘micro-credentials’ are visual representations that recognise all kinds of learning experiences; from online courses, bite-sized workshops to real world learning experiences

Over 150 businesses, recruitment leaders, and workforce development experts gathered in Cork last Thursday, November 14th, 2019, for Ireland’s first ever Digital Badge Symposium. The event took place in Devere Hall, University College Cork from 9am to 2pm.

Skillnet Ireland, the business support agency responsible for enterprise-led workforce development organised the event in collaboration with Taste 4 Success Skillnet and the Food Industry Training Unit in the School of Food and Nutritional Sciences in University College Cork.

Digital badges, also known as ‘micro-credentials’ are having a big impact on the way learning is recognised. These digital visual representations recognise a wide range of learning experiences; from those that occur in traditional classrooms, to online courses, bite-sized workshops and tutorials, to real world learning experiences.

Once collected, the digital badge earner can display their badges as part of their CV or portfolio. They can also embed their badges on a professional profile, on an ePortfolio, such as LinkedIn, or personal website where employers can then access detailed information on how the digital badge was earned and the skills which were attained.

The symposium heard from industry experts such as the Head of DACH LinkedIn Learning Solutions, Per-Fredrik Hagermark and John Counihan, Head of Organisation and Talent Development at Musgrave Retail Group on how digital badges can be used at an organisational level, and how we can present a pathway for employers and employees to use them. Attendees also heard from Rob Horgan, owner of Velo Coffee and a digital badge holder, talk about his experience and the importance of upskilling for entrepreneurs.


“As the world of work changes, we need to embrace technology and explore new approaches to workforce development. Digital badges developed in partnership with industry can provide an innovative way to both recognise and reward individual learners achievements and make lifelong learning more accessible and engaging for our future workforce,”  said Skillnet Ireland Executive Director, Tracey Donnery.

‘’Many educational institutions, businesses, training providers and employees in Ireland have already started to see the value in using digital badges. We would strongly encourage all stakeholders to explore how digital badges can help transform workforce upskilling and development in your sector,” she added.


The Digital Badge Symposium showcased via expert speakers how digital badges are being recognised as a leading-edge learning technology for all industry sectors. Research published earlier this year by Taste 4 Success Skillnet, and the Food Industry Training Unit at University College Cork found that digital badges are an effective tool to recognise achievement in learning in the workforce.


‘’Our research focused specifically on the impact of digital badges in the agri-food sector, where we identified a strong willingness on the part of both employers and employees to engage with the idea of digital badges as a means of recognising earned skills and competencies. Digital badges can easily be adopted and rolled out into other sectors and utilised by learning and professional bodies as a way of recognising continual professional development.” said Bridie Corrigan Matthews, Network Manager for Taste 4 Success Skillnet.

“Digital Badges are still a relatively new international learning technology,” said Dr. Amy Jane Troy, Programme Director at the UCC Food Industry Training Unit (FITU).

“We believe digital badges present a quantum leap in capturing and awarding value for learning and knowledge gathered in the workplace. Our research recommends that further digital badges are developed in training programmes for the food and agri-food sectors. Digital badges offer a real opportunity to encourage and enhance workforce development, upskilling and career progression across all sectors,” she added.

For more on this story contact:

Dr Amy-Jane Troy

Food Industry Training Unit

021 490 2799

Food Industry Training Unit

University College Cork , Western Road, Cork