Sector skills councils are increasingly seen as effective mechanisms to engage industry

Helping enterprises find workers with the right skills, and ensuring that workers acquire the skills they need to find productive employment, is a key to economic prosperity and building inclusive societies. Adopting a forward-looking perspective to improve the competiveness of a certain industry or sector and its future success by upgrading the skills of its workers contributes to national economic growth and diversification, and decent jobs. To examine the central role of education and vocational training in promoting employability of workers that contribute to the sustainable development of national economies, the Global Skills for Employment Knowledge Sharing Platform (Global KSP) hosted an E-Discussion entitled “Providing the right skills at the right time: The role of sectoralskillsdevelopmentincontributingtoproductiveandcompetitiveeconomies” from 3 to 14 October.

Key messages

  • Strengthening training systems to develop the right, or relevant, skills in response to current and future labour market demands requires industry engagement in training development and selected stages of training delivery, technical upskilling, and updating the skills, of teachers/trainers to deliver quality skills and competencies needed, and upgrading learning facilities in TVET institutions.
  • Efforts to reform TVET institutions so that they align more closely with competency-based training linked to labour market needs are perceived by many low-income countries as requiring increased financial investments in the learning and assessment processes, thereby exerting additional pressure on national budgets.
  • Learning- and competency-based approaches should be adapted to respond to the specific needs of each country.
  • In some instances, government heavily finances workforce skills training initiatives. While this may be needed initially as an incentive for engaging industry, skills development of the workforce is more the responsibility of the private sector. Where there is heavy government financing of workforce skills initiatives, a gradual shift towards cost sharing is necessary.
  • Financing skills development systems is costly, and it can be challenging for governments to allocate sufficient budget in competition with other priorities.
  • While the importance of engaging industry in skills development systems is widely recognized, the level of actual engagement of industry is still low in many parts of the world.
  • Industry skills bodies, such as sector skills councils and industry skills councils, are increasingly seen as effective mechanisms to engage industry. Such institutional mechanisms provide a platform for industry to gain experience, have their voices heard and make significant contributions to skills systems.
  • Apprenticeships are effective models of industry/employer led approaches to sectoral skills development, with the ILO’s Quality Apprenticeship programme highlighted as a good practice example. Under the programme,

 The ILO’s Skills for Trade and Economic Diversification (STED) programme, which works at the sectoral level, provides a good practice example of how the Organization supports employers articulate their skills needs and identify
skills mismatches in selected sectors with job creation potential. The model makes sense in increasing the employment prospects of young people and in closing skills gaps.

Chosen excerpts by Job Market Monitor. Read the whole story at Summary report – E-Discussion on providing the right skills at the right time: The role of sectoral skills development in contributing to productive and competitive economies Skills for Employment


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