The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), together with the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), Asian Development Bank (ADB), and Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), is  conducting a two-day international policy forum to discuss how best to promote sustainable and inclusive skills policies in the Philippines and the ASEAN region.

Through OECD’s Southeast Asia Regional Policy Network on Education and Skills Network and GIZ’s Regional Cooperation Programme to Improve the Training of TVET Personnel (RECOTVET), the forum, which runs from 11-12 October 2016 in Cebu City, Philippines, tackles issues on the private sector’s role in skills development and employment.

Around 70  participating from 12 countries and organizations from OECD and ASEAN member states, international organizations, key stakeholders from the TVET portfolio, national and local government, industry groups, and academia are attending the forum to present topics and research on mapping of skilled workers and employers that are geared towards effective skills policies formulation and implementation.

“The OECD has been steadfast in its aim to improve people’s quality of life, to achieve economic growth, sustainability, and to strengthen economic relations among nations,” OECD Local Economic and Employment Development (LEED) Programme head Dr. Sylvain Giguère said.

Giguère added that Southeast Asian economies have achieved impressive growth over the last decade. “The challenge now is to move them into the 4th industrial revolution through effective employment and skills strategies. With these objectives, the OECD- has been persistent in networking skills and labor agencies from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and OECD member states since 2008,” the OECD LEED chief said.

The forum’s co-organiser, GIZ’s regional programme RECOTVET, aims at supporting quality improvement and regional harmonisation of education and training of TVET personnel in South East Asia.

Dr. Nils Geissler, head of the RECOTVET programme, pointed out that there is a growing willingness from the private sector to engage and contribute to the development of TVET systems in the region. “We should seize this great opportunity and push forward close collaborations, while acknowledging their crucial role in enhancing employability skills and reducing the mismatch between the supply and demand of skilled labour,” Geissler said.

The population growth in the Southeast Asia region poses a major challenge in global economic growth and sustainability with the influx of workers in the labor market. But as DOLE Secretary Silvestre Bello III expressed, “Our mandate is to help increase the capacity of the economy to produce goods and services with an adequate and steady supply and movement of skilled and trained human resources”.

Bello added that with the participation of both public and private sectors, and effective governance mechanisms, the quality of education and skills training of personnel across nations will be further optimized.

The Policy Forum on Employment and Skills Strategies, hosted by DOLE and ADB on 10 October 2016, will kick-off the opening activity in the international meeting.

The findings of the OECD research with the Taguig, Cebu, and Davao City Public Employment Service Offices (PESOs) as primary study cases will be presented in the forum.

END/GSR/as reported by PNG Bugayong, KRMCruz


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