Skills are the new currency. Skills are central to the capacity of countries and people to thrive in an increasingly interconnected and rapidly changing world. Fully recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic will require countries to devise coordinated interventions to reactivate skills of displaced workers and use their skills effectively in workplaces. Over the longer-term, megatrends such as globalisation, climate change, technological advance and demographic change will continue to reshape work and society. Countries should take action now to develop the skills required to succeed in the world of the future and strengthen the governance of skill policies in order to make their skills systems more resilient and adaptable.
OECD Skills Strategy projects provide a strategic and comprehensive approach to assess countries’ skills challenges and opportunities, and build more effective skills systems. The OECD works collaboratively with countries to develop policy responses that are tailored to each country’s specific skills challenges and needs. The foundation of this approach is the OECD Skills Strategy framework, the components of which are i) developing relevant skills over the life course, ii) using skills effectively in work and in society, and iii) strengthening the governance of the skills system.
So far, 24 OECD Skills Strategy projects have been completed or are underway in the following diverse countries: Austria, Belgium (Flanders), Italy, Kazakhstan, Korea, Latvia, Lithuania, Mexico, Netherlands, Norway, Peru, Poland, Portugal, the Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain and the United Kingdom (Northern Ireland).
Each country’s situation is unique: countries have different skills strengths, challenges and objectives. Recognising this, projects are designed and tailored in close collaboration with national project teams.
The OECD can make a number of important contributions, including:
Strengthening whole-of-government collaboration: Maximising a country’s skills potential requires collaboration and co-ordination across ministries and levels of government. A whole-of-government approach to skills involves coordinating policy initiatives of ministries responsible for education and training, labour, economy, tax, local economic development, research and innovation, and others.
Each OECD Skills Strategy project starts with the country’s decision to establish an inter-ministerial National Project Team with representation from key ministries. Much of the project work is designed to foster greater interaction and exchange among relevant ministries in order to foster a shared understanding of skills challenges and opportunities as a basis for taking co-ordinated action.
Strengthening stakeholder engagement: Effectively designing and implementing skills policies requires a shared understanding of the need to improve skills, the current strengths and challenges facing a country’s skills system, and the priority areas for action. This entails looking beyond government to build strong partnerships with all actors involved, such as employers, trade unions, training institutions, students and other stakeholders.
Each OECD Skills Strategy project is designed to facilitate stakeholder engagement and build a shared commitment to take concrete action. This is achieved through a combination of interactive workshops, focus groups and meetings with stakeholders.
Providing high quality analysis: A high quality analysis of a country’s skills performance is the foundation upon which better policies are built and implemented.
Each OECD Skills Strategy project leverages OECD, national and other data sources, as well as talent and expertise across the OECD, to provide countries with high quality advice on how to develop and implement effective policies for developing and using skills as well as for strengthening governance of the skills system. Projects will also draw upon concrete examples of policy initiatives from other countries and regions that may provide important lessons.
Providing international peer-learning opportunities: Peer learning opportunities will help to widen and deepen understanding of alternative approaches that countries and regions can learn from one another. This includes regular meetings among the Skills Strategy project teams from participating countries.