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ILO-WTO book: Investing in Skills for Inclusive Trade

ILO and WTO have recently co-published the book: “Investing in Skills for Inclusive Trade” focused on the linkages between trade and skills and between trade and skills development policies. The publication has been presented on 4 July during a conference at the WTO headquarter in Geneva by Roberto Azevêdo and Guy Ryder, respectively WTO and ILO Director-General.

According to the study, national skills development systems able to match skills supply to demand are crucial to improve each country’s competitive position in the current global economy scenario and to support inclusive development. Enhancing the skills of a country’s workforce lifts the export performance of its enterprises and better prepares them to meet foreign competition in the domestic market.

The authors outline that addressing the need for developing a more competitive workforce is a long-term process. Continuing education and training at universities, in TVET, and on-the-job training can help workers and managers cope with the big changes in demand for skills which are in varying degrees triggered by globalization. In support to these arguments, the book shows evidence of a range of policy approaches which have helped countries in responding effectively to these challenges.

Major concepts expressed in the book by WTO and ILO economists include:

  • Skills development is key to more inclusive trade
  • The level and composition of skills in a country affect its participation in trade
  • Trade affects the demand for skills in several ways
  • Trade affects the wage distribution by increasing the returns to skills
  • An appropriate skills supply increases gains from trade and improves their distribution
  • Available responses

As a key stakeholder in the Australian TVET sector and as a consultant to the TVET authorities of a number of African and Asian countries, Sustainable Skills has extensive experience supporting Governments and Industry to build effective TVET systems able to match skills supply to demand and to ensure each country’s inclusive economical and social development.

Click here to read more about the book presentation

Download the Executive summary

Download the full book “Investing in Skills for Inclusive Trade”

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Myanmar National Education Strategic Plan 2016-2021

Myanmar National Education Strategic Plan 2016-2021: enabling greater access, quality and equity in the TVET system

The Ministry of Education of Myanmar 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 youth and adult students with the skills they need to succeed in the 21st century and to enable them to fulfil their career and lifelong learning aspirations.

The NESP roadmap clearly recognises the vital importance of developing an industry-led and competency-based TVET system able to train a skilled and competitive local workforce to support Myanmar’s long-term social and economic growth. In the coming years, Myanmar will need a large number of skilled employees, particularly for the agricultural, energy, manufacturing, infrastructure, livestock, fisheries and tourism sectors.

How Sustainable Skills can help

As a key stakeholder in the Australian TVET sector, and as a consultant to the TVET authorities of a number of African and Asian nations, Sustainable Skills has extensive and niche experience in helping Governments and Industry to reform their TVET system and can assist Myanmar to design a program that will realise its educational goals.

This article summarises a number of ideas about what the reform program could look like while specifying how Sustainable Skills could be involved in the process.

Allocate funding to enable grater access to TVET

Greater access to TVET requires expansion in the number of training places as well as the removal of barriers to enrolling in a training course or having one’s skills recognised.  Increasing the number of training places available is fairly simple, but can be done only after building the capacity of the system through substantial investment in facilities and skills of TVET educators. There are a number of models for how to manage this process, and Sustainable Skills can assist the Government of Myanmar in formulating an appropriate model and in designing a program, or in procuring the right implementation partner for a funding program.

Ensuring greater quality and alignment to labour market requirements

The adoption of industry-defined competency standards that can be packaged into skill sets and qualifications can help the Government of Myanmar to achieve its dual goals of graduates equipped with  skill sets required by industries and TVET curricula that meet local needs.

The use of standards allows for curricula to be regionally specific while maintaining consistency across training providers and aligning to the needs of industry. As the Australian Industry Skills Council for the Resources and Infrastructure Industries, these have been the core business for Sustainable Skills (as SkillsDMC) for nearly twenty years and our support can be instrumental to develop and implement these critical TVET components.

A mistake that is often made in determining the qualifications required for TVET trainers is to ignore the importance of industry experience. Questions need to be asked about whether TVET trainers and assessors require university qualifications, or whether competency in the disciplines that they are training is more important. Sustainable Skills can help the Government of Myanmar to find the right balance of education, competency and industry experience for its TVET workforce.

Creating a more effective TVET management system

As an independent and honest third party mediating between the needs of industry and the realities of Government, Sustainable Skills has developed a unique understanding of how TVET systems can be managed. When it comes to the cooperation of Government ministries with the private sector, Sustainable Skills has helped to develop industry representation with Government in Australia, as well as throughout Africa and Asia. A TVET Council model, such as the one aspired to in the NESP, should be industry-led without marginalising the needs of training sector and individuals.

Sustainable Skills has experience doing this both in Australia and in Africa (Mozambique and Zambia) and can assist the Government of Myanmar in conducting the stakeholder analysis, in approaching stakeholders to participate and in forming the structures that the Council will work within.  We’ve also provided advice and support to The Philippines and Vietnam in their efforts to implement a similar system.

Implementing a pilot program

The benefit of a pilot program is that it is contained and can have a specified end date, at which time the TVET Council, the Government and the consultants can evaluate the success of the programs and make changes to those programs before they are implemented more widely across the TVET system.  It will also be worthwhile to evaluate the extent to which capacity within the system has been developed at a Government, employer and training provider level, and determine whether additional capacity building is required or whether the market is ready to function and grow independent of external support.

We take great pride in assisting our partners to make the connection between international best practice and their local needs. Contact us for further information about how Sustainable Skills can deliver positive outcomes in your market or for your organisation.


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