Convergence across policies Skills and employment policies


Convergence across policies
Skills and employment policies should be viewed together. The full value of one policy
set is realized when it supports the objectives of the other.
One of the main challenges of public policy is to foster institutional arrangements
through which government departments, employers, workers and training institutions
can respond effectively to changing skill and training needs, and indeed play a strategic
and forward-looking role in anticipating future needs. For investments in training to
yield maximum benefit to workers, enterprises and economies, countries’ capacity for
coordination is most important in three areas:

 20 A Skilled Workforce for Strong, Sustainable and Balanced Growth
(1) connecting basic education to technical training, technical training to labour
market entry, and labour market entry to workplace and lifelong learning;
(2) ensuring continuous communication between employers and training providers so
that training meets the needs and aspirations of workers and enterprises; and
(3) integrating skills development policies with other policy areas – not only labour
market and social protection policies, but also industrial, investment, trade and
technology policies, and regional or local development policies.
Countries use a variety of coordination mechanisms: national inter-ministerial
bodies; sector-based bodies bringing together training institutions and providers with
employers’ and workers’ representatives; and decentralized local bodies. 

These mechanisms involve substantial investments of time and money, and they work when, and only
when, all stakeholders can see their own objectives supported by others. For example:
■ line ministries responsible for public infrastructure, research and innovation, environmental protection, international competitiveness and regional integration – to
name just a few – rely on a skilled workforce;

 ■ employers seek a well-trained workforce capable of further learning so that their
enterprises can take advantage of new technologies and adapt to changing market
conditions; and
■ workers and their trade unions know that time spent acquiring skills leads to better
employment and standards of living.
In sum, the effective utilization of skills in the workplace both depends on and
contributes to conditions conducive to innovation and enterprise development; effective
labour market orientation and mediation services; and well-informed decisions about
education and training policies.

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