In order to respond more effectively to the needs of its constituents, and strengthen the skills element of Decent Work Country Programmes, the ILO is developing a Strategic Framework for Skills and Employability in Asia and the Pacific. This Framework will be designed to serve as a common platform for better cooperation and services to its member States on skills issues. All ILO programmes and activities for skills development in the region will eventually be integrated into a single workplan. Capacity building and effective utilization of existing networks of national and local institutions in the region are key components under the Framework. A new Regional Skills and Employability Programme (SKILLS-AP) will facilitate this process. The SKILLS-AP programme builds on the earlier work of the Asia and Pacific Skills Development Programme (APSDEP) which was generously supported by the Government of Japan since its inception. The important work done by APSDEP over many years provides a sound technical basis and wealth of information and knowledge for the new SKILLS-AP programme.
A major activity of the new SKILLS-AP programme will be the revitalization of the ILO Regional Skills Network. With the ever increasing knowledge content of work, and the corresponding demand for new and different skills, new, innovative approaches need to be developed to assist those countries with less developed training systems. Traditional donor support is simply not available as in the past and so the Regional Skills Network will play an important role in facilitating the sharing of experience, expertise and good practices in the field of skills development between member States in the region.