National Skills Strategies

National Skills Strategies


The OECD Skills Strategy provides a strategic approach to skills policies to promote better skills, better jobs and better lives. It aims to strengthen countries’ skills systems through the coherent development, activation and effective use of skills to promote economic prosperity and social cohesion, reflecting a strong focus on “lifetime employability”.

We are working collaboratively with a range of countries in applying the OECD Skills Strategy framework to build more effective national skills strategies. Experience to date in Austria, Italy, Korea, the Netherlands, Norway, Peru, Portugal, Slovenia and Spain has led to new ways of framing and addressing complex skills challenges that will, in turn, lead to more effective policy design and implementation.

Each national skills strategy country project offers a highly tailored approach to focus on the unique skills challenges, context and objectives of each country.

Each project leverages OECD comparative data and policy analysis, fosters collaboration across ministerial portfolios and levels of government while engaging all relevant stakeholders – employers, trade unions, and civil society organisations.

Interactive workshops help promote a shared understanding among national stakeholders of the skills challenges their country faces, providing a strong basis to move from shared diagnosis to developing and implementing concrete actions.

The Diagnostic Phase – Reaching a deep, shared understanding of the challenge

A key element of successful reform is building a deep, shared understanding of the challenges facing the country. Taking the time to fully explore the challenges with all stakeholders before moving to action is important to:

  • Clarify whether the perceived challenges are, on closer examination, the real challenges.
  • Facilitate the process of identifying the policy obstacles and how to tackle them in the Action Phase.
  • Lay the ground for successful implementation by engaging all the stakeholders in the process.

This phase would typically involve several diagnostic workshops that would involve all relevant ministries and national and/or regional stakeholders.

Workshops use techniques designed by the OECD and adapted to the country’s context, in close consultation with the national project team – they are designed to facilitate dialogue among the stakeholders and highlight relevant international evidence.

The main skills challenges identified are set out in a short OECD Skills Strategy Diagnostic Report and presented publicly.

The Action Phase – Making reform happen

This phase involves several stakeholder workshops that focus on tackling the skills challenges identified in the Diagnostic Phase and building agreement on what actions need to be taken and by whom. Project activities are designed to support, and contribute to, advancing the country’s own skills policy agenda.

The Action Phase produces a set of proposals for action, which can be used as input to developing an action plan for improving the country’s skills system. Such proposals will enjoy widespread support and can be more successfully implemented.

A full National Skills Strategy country project, comprising a Diagnostic Phase and an Action Phase, would typically be carried out over a period of 18-24 months, in order to allow time for reflection and further discussion at the national level between workshops. A two-step approach can also be envisaged if a country should wish to embark upon the diagnostic phase in the first instance.


Country reports

Thematic reports





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