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Making TVET inclusive of persons with disabilities

Policy brief: Making TVET and skills systems inclusive of persons with disabilities

This document recently issued by the International Labour Organisation (ILO), the U.N. agency based in Geneva that sets labour standards, develops policies and devises programmes promoting decent work for all, outlines the steps involved in making TVET and skills development systems accessible to persons with disabilities.

According to ILO, people with disabilities comprise 15 per cent of the global population and an estimated 785 million persons of working age. They represent a marginalized group in the labour market in all countries around the world, being far more likely to be unemployed or underemployed. Their labour market situation entails social and economic losses which have been estimated by the ILO to be between 3 and 7 per cent of GDP.

There is a urgent need to address the marginalization of people with disabilities in the labour market, and to take steps to reduce the significant social and economic cost this represents to individuals and society at large. TVET systems can play a crucial role in this process by enabling people with disabilities to acquire skills and qualifications required in the labour market and improve their employment prospects.

The inclusion of vocational education and training as explicit outcomes in the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) gives TVET and skills systems an unprecedented profile on the international stage. The SDGs include a target of ensuring equal access to vocational training at all levels for persons with disabilities along with other vulnerable groups (Target 4.5).

The policy brief outlines a number of actions to effectively promote the inclusion of people with disabilities in TVET programmes:

  • an enabling policy or strategy should be put in place mistaken assumptions about the abilities and capabilities of persons with disabilities should be challenged;
  • buildings and transport should be made accessible;
  • entry criteria, teaching methods, materials and evaluation methods should be reviewed and adapted;
  • TVET workforce capacity to teach trainees with disabilities alongside non-disabled trainees should be
  •  operational alliances should be formed with key partners;
  • a system of on-going support to inclusion, including reasonable accommodation, should be developed;
  • the effectiveness of the policy or strategy should be regularly monitored and reviewed; and
  • resources should be allocated to make these changes

The document provides best practices adopted by various countries to increase access to TVET for people with disabilities, including the Australian Apprenticeships Incentives Programme providing a range of assistance to support apprentices with disabilities, and the itinerant support teachers, with specialist expertise in areas such as hearing and/or vision impairment, early intervention, autism and behavioural disorders, can be provided in NSW to assist students with disabilities and their class teachers.

The Policy Brief Making TVET inclusive of persons with disabilities released by ILO is available here


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From the desk of the CEO-December 2017 newsletter address

Nigel Carpenter, Sustainable Skills CEO, introducing our organisation during a seminar in Jakarta on 14 December.

This has been a remarkable year for our organisation, beginning with the launch of our new  Sustainable Skills brand which is now recognised as a reputable TVET consultancy in a number of countries.

During the first part of the year we focussed entirely on exploring and developing new business opportunities across different areas including Ghana, Kenya, Ethiopia, South Africa, Uganda, the Philippines, Indonesia, and Myanmar. Alongside, we worked to build a team of highly qualified TVET consultants and recruit board directors able to reflect the new scope of our business across a broad range of industrial sectors worldwide.

The second part of the year saw us concentrating our resources on regions where Sustainable Skills expertise and background can effectively assist to build TVET systems able to meet the nation’s needs, like Indonesia and Myanmar.

Sustainable Skills has developed a strong position in Indonesia where an important reform of the vocational education system to support the needs of a rapidly emerging economy by improving the quality and competitiveness of his country’s human resources is a priority on the government agenda. This month, I had the pleasure of being invited by the Indonesian Ministry of Research, Technology
and Higher Education to present Sustainable Skills to a 4-hour seminar on the benefits of an industry-led TVET system in Jakarta. Over 40 polytechnics were invited from throughout the archipelago. The seminar was well received and good outcomes were achieved. In fact we’ve been asked to deliver a longer workshop in the new year. Indonesia recognises there’s a need to work more closely with industry so that
students are more likely to have the skills industry wants and therefore gain work.

In Myanmar  the Government has recently launched a new National Education Strategic Plan (NESP) aiming to establish an accessible, equitable and effective national education system over the next five years. The ultimate goal of this plan is to equip local students with the skills they need to succeed in the 21st century and to enable them to fulfil their career and lifelong learning aspirations. Sustainable Skills can support the execution of the plan and assist with projects that increase the quality and supply of education and training places.

In July a significant milestone was achieved as we have been officially awarded a consultancy contract sponsored by the World Bank to address skills imbalances and shortages in Uganda. Client of the contract is the Private Sector Foundation Uganda (PSFU) and this is the first non Australian government contract in the history of Sustainable Skills/SkillsDMC. The first quarter of the project has seen the Sustainable Skills team of TVET experts working on the due diligence and capacity assessment stages and conducting a number of site visits to ensure that applicants supposed to deliver the skills training are fully capable of executing their responsibilities, especially regarding their facility, experience, and expertise.

We are at an early stage of our path and we are aware of the important challenges Sustainable Skills will face next year to achieve our goals. We believe the foundation we built so far are strong and promising and we’ll continue to manage the organisation doing everything we possibly can to succeed and contribute to build effective TVET systems worldwide.

I would like to thank the Sustainable Skills team for the commitment to the organisation during this challenging year, all our Board Directors for their support and trust, our Chair of the Board who has been instrumental to develop our current strategy, and all our stakeholders and partners who followed and supported us over the course of this year.

Sustainable Skills will shutdown operations over the Christmas and New Year period. Our last day of work will be Thursday 21st December and returning to work on Monday 15th January. The Sustainable Skills team wishes you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year 2018.


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