Report of the Committee on Human Resources, Training and Development
Submission, discussion and adoption
Original Spanish: The PRESIDENT — The next item is the report of the Committee on the Development of Human Resources, which you will find in Provisional Record No. 21.
I call on Mr. Chetwin, Reporter of the Committee, to submit the report.
Mr. CHETWIN (Government delegate, New Zealand; Reporter of the Committee on Human Resources Training and Development) — As Reporter of the Committee on Human Resources Training and Development, I have the honour to present the Committee's report to the 88th Session of the International Labour Conference. The report was adopted by the Committee yesterday, Tuesday 13 June, and has been recorded as Provisional Record No. 21.
The Committee's discussions centred around a series of issues identified in Report V entitled Training for employment: Social inclusion, productivity and youth employment. The Committee's discussions were greatly enriched by the broad range of experiences, knowledge and perspectives contributed by Worker, Employer and Government members of the Committee.
The Committee reached a very broad measure of agreement on the issues arising in human resources training and development, and on the approaches available to deal with them. The conclusions as a whole were agreed by consensus, and only two points within them required votes.
The Committee identified two sets of drivers of change in the world of work: those arising from globalization and technology, and others being generated from within enterprises. In this environment, human resources development and training were seen as forming part of both the economic and social responses to those drivers. The economic responses in the form of promoting competitiveness, productivity and employability, and in the social area serving the goals of equity, social inclusion and non-discrimination. To succeed in meeting these challenges, education must go hand in hand with comprehensive economic, labour market and social policies. The Committee's conclusions explore the full spectrum of basic education, initial training and lifelong learning. Education and training are seen as a right for all, with corresponding responsibility to make use of the opportunities. But there are a number of factors operating in the current environment which can seriously limit the opportunities available to many people. In particular, there is a pressing need to implement national and international strategies to eliminate illiteracy. To succeed in combating social exclusion, education and training strategies must be carefully targeted at women and people with special needs. In the view of the Committee, training can also help transform the informal sector from largely survival activities into mainstream economic life.
The Committee adopted a broad definition of employability in terms of a person's ability to secure and retain a job, to progress at work and to cope with change throughout their working life. The broadness of this definition has had a strong bearing on the Committee's view of future directions for human resources development and training. The cost of education and training should, in the view of the Committee, be seen as an investment. There are a number of influences at work which may lead to the level of that investment being less than optimal, especially in the least developed countries. Investing in education and training can be a shared responsibility of the public and private sectors. The roles of governments, enterprises and individuals are related to the mix of societal, business, competitiveness and individual objectives being pursued. Partnerships between government and enterprises, between government and the social partners, or between the social partners themselves can also assist in ensuring adequate investment. A range of mechanisms to further investment and training is available. The Committee urges the ILO to develop a database on current levels of investment in education and training, and to suggest a series of benchmarks, possibly differentiated by region, size of enterprise and industry or sector.
The Committee's conclusions canvas the challenges and opportunities presented by the rapid rate of advance in information and communication technologies. The dangers of a widening digital divide are identified at individual, community and national levels. Governments and enterprises both have roles in increasing investment and promoting the development of information and communication technology skills and infrastructure. However, information and communication technology, while demanding new skills, also offer new methods for training and learning, provided that the access problems can be overcome. In the case of the least developed countries, a major challenge faces the ILO, the international development and financial agencies and regional organizations — not only to facilitate access to information and communication technology, but also to ensure that development and structural adjustment programmes generally place high priority on human resources development and training. The Committee's conclusions emphasize that national qualifications frameworks can assist both enterprises and workers. The desirable characteristics of such frameworks are identified, including the importance of recognizing prior and informal learning, and of tripartite involvement. It is suggested that the ILO develop a database on best practices in developing national qualifications frameworks, conduct a study on the comparability of such frameworks and research the recognition of prior learning.
The Committee urges a strengthened social dialogue and effective partnerships in training and development, including the development of policies and strategies at the national level, which are integrated with economic and employment policies. The ILO is urged to lead in international efforts to build capacities for social dialogue and partnership in this area. Collective bargaining is also seen as being one means of creating the conditions for effective organization and implementation of training at sector and enterprise levels.
Finally, the Committee proposes that the Human Resources Development Recommendation, 1975 (No. 150), should be revised to reflect the new dynamic approach to training. Terms of reference for that review are suggested. It is also proposed that a new Recommendation should be complemented by a practical guide and database that can be kept up to date by the International Labour Office.
The report you see in front of you is very much a team effort. I would like to acknowledge the leadership and wisdom shown by the Chairperson, Dr. Mishra, in guiding the Committee through complex and long discussions. The Vice-Chairpersons — Mr. Patel for the Workers and Mr. Renique for the Employers — showed commitment to an approach based on joint-problem identification and solving and that, I believe, was supported by the Government members. As I mentioned earlier, the Committee's general discussion ranged far and wide and deep. Despite that, I believe the report captures well in summary form the richness and diversity and balance of that debate, as fact which is a tribute to the secretariat. I would like to acknowledge the contribution of the secretariat to the Committee's work overall. The Committee worked some very long days, to midnight on several occasions. When our work was finished, the secretariat's began. They responded to that challenge with unfailing commitment, energy and competence. I commend the report to you.
Mr. RENIQUE (Employers' adviser, Netherlands; Employer Vice-Chairperson of the Committee on Human Resources Training and Development) — In two weeks we came to a firm consensus on the major issues and goals for education and training. People not involved in these issues might have thought that this would have been very easy because these are not controversial issues. They are in everyone's interest. Our Committee meetings told another tale. Of course, education is good for everybody and so is lifelong learning, but that would be a nice concluding statement without many implications and without much guidance for good practice.
In the Committee we dug much deeper and had sharp debates that clarified our views and concepts. We graced all grounds, starting with the broad context of the economy, discussing the needs of enterprises and workers, and highlighting the responsibilities of all partners and the way in which they can build partnerships together.
As I see it, the Committee's report is really a state-of-the-art report that can inspire governments, employers and workers and their organizations. Let me underline a number of aspects that we consider extremely useful.
First, we fully agree with the idea that employability strikes more birds with one stone. It contributes to economic development, it contributes to full employment, and it contributes to social inclusion. This is clearly stated in the report and we endorse this fully.
We struggled a lot with the negative bias in Report V on globalization. First of all, we have to keep in mind that globalization is just one of the forces that influence our economy and our labour market. We are very pleased that in the report in front of you a much broader scope is taken.
Moreover, it is fully recognized that education and training are necessary and required to take full advantage of new opportunities for enterprises. Education and training are the fuel for competitiveness of enterprises and for economic growth. At the same time it is recognized that education and training can also deliver an adequate social response to developments in the economy and in society, including globalization. Certainly, we underline that education and training policy on its own cannot ensure sustainable economic and social development.
Therefore the report encourages governments to coordinate their policies, including labour market, economic and fiscal policies, and we endorse this.
The Employers' group regrets that it did not spend more time on the issue of youth unemployment. This is an issue that should be particularly dealt with by more departments in mutual cooperation. Youth unemployment takes different forms in developing and in industrial countries, but all face the issue of how to guarantee a smooth transition for youth from education to work.
Safety net arrangements are very important. If young men or women, during their teens or twenties, does not find the right track to the labour market we may lose them for ever. This should certainly be an issue when the ILO accepts our advice to establish further work on the basis of this report.
Rather a novelty in this report is that social partners claim involvement in policies for basic education. In many countries we are already intensively involved as social partners in vocational education policy. But why do we want involvement in basic education? The answer is simple. Like war that is too important to leave to the generals, education seems to us to be too important to leave to educationalists or politicians. Education is the foundation of lifelong learning. The better the start is, the more use people make of continuing training and the better results they get out of it.
There should be no misunderstanding. Employers will never assume, of course, the same responsibility for basic education as they do for vocational education. That involvement will be focused on the main issues of education policy. Nevertheless, this can lead to a very fruitful dialogue. The Employers' group believes that it can share a lot of experience about new working methods, new forms of organizations, the use of ICT and that discussions of these experiences at a national level can look at how education could respond to these developments in business and society. We are very glad that this point has been reflected in our final result.
We also think that we can contribute to the issue of quality assessment in education. Our general impression is that politicians are rather more concerned about showing input data, but are less interested in controlling the outcome of huge collective investment in the different countries.
Recently I was involved in the report “In search of quality” released in February this year by seven employers' organizations in Europe dealing with the quality of basic education. I recommend this report; it signals that employers really do like to be involved and consulted on the broad lines of policy for basic education.
With respect to further training, the conclusions of the report are so rich that even mentioning all the concepts and proposed arrangement would take too long. Nevertheless, I would like to mention some highlights.
We agreed upon a broad concept of employability, including generic skills such as communication, ICT and language skills, and multiple skills coming from the different professional areas. It also includes preparation for entrepreneurships.
We are particularly pleased that the Workers also agree that education and training should deliver not only knowledge and skills, but also broad competencies. It implies the ability to perform and to behave according to high professional standards. And besides knowledge and skills it also implies the attitudes necessary for professional behaviour.
We fully accept the problem raised by the Workers that attitudes are more difficult to assess. We also agree that this assessment should not mean a moral judgement on workers. But we witness in all sectors an increasing demand for personal skills and competencies, including attitudes. We had too little time, although we had many sessions in which to discuss this issue in depth. However, we look forward to further dialogue on this issue.
We underline that employability is an important condition for realizing economic growth. But, at the same time, it would make little sense for people to invest much in their own employability if at the national level there was no commitment and no investment in economic and labour market policies to enhance economic growth and to increase job opportunities. Needless to say, enterprises always try to guarantee their future and to expand which, at the macro level, results in more employment.
So, the concept of employability is a challenge for workers, for enterprises and for government and certainly does not rest only on the shoulders of the workers.
This fits very well with the tripartite responsibility for investment in education and training, as expressed in the Cologne Charter of the G8, calling upon the commitment of all the three partners to realize lifelong learning: by governments investing to enhance education and training at all levels, by the private sector training existing and future employees, and by individuals developing their own abilities and careers.
In respect of this I would like to mention that the clearly expressed will of governments and employers to guarantee access to training implies, on the other hand, the responsibility of the individual to use the opportunities offered and to co-invest, at least in time, in his or her development.
I would like to refer to a recent brochure of the Swedish Employers' Confederation, which says, and I quote: “it is ultimately the individual himself who has the responsibility for his own competence development”. Schools and enterprises can provide people with the opportunities to develop their competence, but they can never take over the responsibility of the individual.”
Besides a common understanding of the benefit for enterprises and workers of economic growth, we also recognize that the developing countries especially have difficulties catching up with the mainstream. We recognize the risk of a divide, and therefore in the report we make a dual appeal.
The ILO, in cooperation with other international organizations, should stipulate that education and training becomes a high priority in support programmes for developing countries. At the same time, however, we stress that the developing countries themselves should also make a decisive effort in placing education and training at the top of their own agenda.
We elaborate quite deeply the issue of partnership. I will not bother you with our debate on definitions but simply stress that tripartite and bipartite dialogue and arrangements are very important instruments to realize lifelong learning.
The three pillars of the Cologne Charter I just quoted need to be arched. There is much to win in co-investment, in combining efforts. There is much to lose in playing blackjack and pointing at one of the partners to take all the responsibility. We fully endorse that the partners, either bipartite or tripartite, should decide which of the many instruments for funding of lifelong learning should be used.
If we are to take partnership seriously, the ILO should not recommend or prescribe a particular approach. On the other hand, it is fairly useful, as is recommended in our report, that the ILO should develop a database on best practices on this issue, and make that available to their Members.
We also endorse that issues like a national qualification framework and the recognition of prior learning should be on the top of the list of national tripartite dialogue and also in this field the ILO could collect evidence of best practices.
This brings me to a more general remark. The ILO cannot and should not do all the work that is recommended in this report on its own. The Employers' group feels strongly that there is a lot to gain by cooperation with associates such as the OECD and UNESCO, and also with private institutes such as the American Society for Training and Development (ASTD), which sets interesting benchmarks, for example, and does research on continuing training.
If statistics from the ASTD had been used in the report, we are sure that the so-called training paradox which emerged in Report V of the Office would not have been introduced at all.
Finally, to give you some idea of the combination of earnestness and humour, we always looked for in our Committee, I want now to reveal the secret of the reason why the word “paradigm” will not be found in our conclusions, although we did use it several times in our opening statement to indicate the redesign that is needed for education, given the new working methods in enterprises and given the use of ICT.
I saw on the television last week a concert of Pavarotti, with many guests from other countries. One was an American, and he sang the song “Hey brother, can you spare a dime?” We agree fully with the Workers' group that this expression sounds too much like under-investment in training, which is, indeed, penny wise and pound foolish, and for that reason we did not ask for an amendment of the conclusions on this point.
To conclude, we very much welcome the conclusions of the Committee, and we support the proposal to consider a revision of Recommendation No. 150 in future ILO work.
I would like cordially to thank Mr. Mishra for his leadership, Mr. Patel for the constructive debate, the Governments for their active involvement, and especially the ILO office and the IOE for their contribution to facilitate our work.
Mr. PATEL (Workers' delegate, South Africa; Worker Vice-Chairperson of the Committee on Human Resources Training and Development) — There are two linked realities that form the backdrop to the work of the Committee on Human Resources Training and Development.
On the one hand, we have promise fulfilled: a major revolution in the development and transmission of knowledge and information, linking up people across national frontiers and time zones, sharing data, experience and viewpoints at rapid speeds, connecting 80 million computers with an estimated 300 million Internet users, a process of knowledge-sharing unparalleled in human history.
On the other hand, we have potential unfulfilled: 885 million adults globally who are illiterate, a number equal to the entire population, that is every man woman and child of the European Union, plus double the entire population of the United States. These are human beings who are unable to use the intellectual tools even of the old economy.
The Committee's task was to come up with a set of conclusions which identifies the role of human resources development and training for both these realities, with a view to harnessing the potential of education and training to transform our world, and our shared social and human reality, so that every person can achieve their full human potential and every country may acquire the capacity to address the challenges facing its citizens.
The conclusions of the Committee are an excellent outcome, a quality product of detailed discussions conducted in an environment of information sharing, negotiation and collegiality. It is not a set of platitudes strung together in order simply to produce a text for the Conference. It is, rather, in our view, both visionary and full of insight.
The conclusions contain important conceptual advances which progress current thinking and policy on human resources development. They provide an excellent basis on which countries, employers and trade unions can build, to harness the opportunities that education and training can provide to workers, enterprises, women and men, the socially excluded and those driving the information revolution.
What are some of the more significant advances?
The conclusions endorse the concept that skills and experience gained in the university of life, in the tough school of experience in the workplace, home, and community, should be recognized. This requires us to clearly define the skills involved and agree on ways to measure and assess them.
The conclusions propose the setting up of a national qualifications framework that integrates the different ways in which we gain skills, from formal and non-formal education, to work experience and on-the-job learning. These skills would be defined, assessed and certified. It would be the basis for recognition of skills at work through the national skills competency system, and would, more crucially, be the basis for recognition of skills acquired in the workplace in the criteria for admission to public and private educational institutions.
Hidden skills should be explicitly recognized, say the conclusions of the Committee. For example, the shift to the services sector, which is dominated by women workers, often relies on greater communication and problem-solving skills, which are not always explicitly recognized in reward systems.
New forms of work organization, such as flatter managerial structures, are, to paraphrase the conclusions, predicated on shifting responsibility from management to the workforce. These must be recognized and rewarded.
The conclusions constitute a breakthrough, in that all these skills, hidden skills and demonstrable skills, skills learned formally and informally, would be recognized.
The conclusions define the role for collective bargaining as an instrument for addressing “recognition and reward schemes, including remuneration structuring”.
So, in some ways, this is about recognizing the value of a seamless system of learning and work which will truly transform our economies and societies. It allows the use of lifelong learning as the means to continuously improve the way we work and the way we live.
Happily, for all of us, the conclusions strongly urge the tripartite development of the standard system.
The conclusions consider the tremendous potential of the new information and communication technologies to develop economies and assist in the spreading of knowledge. They recognize the danger of a new “digital divide” that can widen existing inequalities in education and training between urban and rural areas, between rich and poor, between those who lack literacy and numeracy skills and those who have them, and between developed and developing countries.
There are a number of concrete proposals put forward to develop an inclusive physical and knowledge infrastructure to promote access for all to the opportunities provided by information and communication technologies.
One particularly innovative proposal is effectively to encourage enterprises to provide computers and Internet access to workers at their homes in order to promote the diffusion of information and communication technology skills and access in society.
The use of ICT in learning and teaching can improve the quality of training and access to training. We warmly endorse this.
The conclusions contain substantial formulation on the role of education and training in the informal sector, a formulation, I believe, which should inform all ILO work in regard to the informal sector. It recognizes that education should not be designed to keep people in the informal sector, so that the informal sector expands, but, in conjunction with other measures, it should seek to transform these largely survival activities into decent work, fully integrated in mainstream economic life. This is significant.
The right to education and training and to free, universal, quality, public, primary and secondary education for all children is explicitly endorsed. The role of education and training in combating discrimination and in promoting social equity is recognized. The conclusions recognize that education and training are a necessary, but I stress, not a sufficient condition to resolve the aggregate employment challenge we face.
The opening paragraph, in inspirational language, states that a critical challenge that faces human society at the start of the twenty-first century is to attain full employment, social inclusivity, and sustained economic growth in the global economy.
The conclusions call for comprehensive economic, labour market and social policies which will promote this, and recognize the need for a combination of macroeconomic and other policies that expand aggregate demand in the economy. Supply side policies focusing on science and technology, education and training and industrial and enterprise policies are also needed to improve the output of the economy.
Significantly, the conclusions recognize that appropriate fiscal policies, social security and collective bargaining are among the means to distribute economic gains on a fair and equitable basis, and constitute basic incentives to invest in training.
The conclusions note that these integrated policies require consideration of a new financial and social architecture for the global economy, a subject for ILO research.
The Workers' group is particularly pleased with the substantial text on the challenges facing developing countries. They call on the international community to take a wide range of measures covering matters such as literacy programmes, infrastructure development, resource mobilization, debt relief and debt cancellation, fair technology transfer agreements and assessment of the impact of structural adjustment policies on investment in education and training.
They also place the responsibility on governments in the developing countries to ensure that we use education and training to make the leap from underdevelopment to the information society.
It is with this backdrop that the conclusions endorse a broad definition of employability. It is a sensible definition that recognizes the combination of education and broader economic and social policies geared towards decent work that is required to achieve the full value of employability.
The Committee made great progress in agreeing upon the mix of skills, knowledge and competencies that are required. Competencies, one element of employability, are objective and measurable and avoid insidious discrimination caused by resort to subjective criteria in evaluating the capacities of workers.
The conclusions make the case for the cost of training and education to be seen as investment. They explore a number of funding mechanisms, including the setting up of training funds and a levy system on enterprises. They also support systems of tripartite governance, where these are set up.
The conclusions recognize that measures such as the provision of childcare facilities are needed to facilitate access to training. They support the development of a series of benchmarks for funding on vocational and continuous training.
The conclusions make an insightful suggestion that public grants to trade unions and employers' organizations can help build the capacity of business and labour to contribute to a strong tripartite shaping of education and training systems.
Tripartism infuses the entire conclusions. The conclusions support the view that education and training in such areas as industrial relations, trade union education, business administration, the social contribution by the work and the organization of the social partners should be part of initial and vocational training.
The Workers' group believes that the conclusions and the specific focus in the fin
al paragraph constitute an excellent basis for a review of the international instruments in this area, aimed at retaining concepts that are still valid and incorporating new thinking and new consensus in the instruments themselves.
In conclusion, may we express our appreciation to our Chairperson, Dr Mishra, who handled his job with great dignity and skill; to the secretariat which worked long hours to produce texts for the Committee; and to the Employer Vice-Chairperson, Mr. Renique, who showed insight and a wonderful sense of humour in fulfilling the mandate of his group and in his role in helping to forge a sensible set of conclusions. The Workers' group warmly endorses the conclusions.
Mr. MISHRA (Government delegate, India; Chairperson of the Committee on Human Resources Training and Development) — The distinguished Government delegate of New Zealand, Reporter of the Committee and Chairperson of the Drafting Group, Mr. Chetwin, has presented a very clear, lucid and comprehensive account of the discussion which took place in the Committee and the outcome thereof, which is of considerable interest and relevance to all member countries represented in this august body.
He has been ably supplemented by the distinguished Vice-Chairpersons of the Committee, representing the Employers and the Workers, who had steered the course of deliberations in the Committee with considerable professional acumen and insight. They also displayed in the process a remarkable depth of understanding and of commitment.
The task of the Chairperson is to set the pace and tone of discussion in the beginning, steer the course of the debate and sum up the essence of conclusions and recommendations in a holistic perspective. I will make a humble attempt to do so.
The Committee on the whole has rightly perceived the emergence of globalized market forces, the opportunities and challenges unleashed by these forces, and also the sweeping changes which are taking place in technology and the workplace on account of reorganization.
It has perceived how the revolution in information technology has engulfed and metamorphosed the contours of human life in its totality. It has perceived with equal clarity the seminal importance of basic knowledge, information and skills, new paradigms of education, continuing education and skill training. They constitute a seamless process, a continuum, which begins with birth and ends with death.
It has perceived the emerging mismatch in the labour market between the skills which the market needs and the skills which we are able to provide, many of which quickly become obsolescent.
It has recognized how a supply-driven training mechanism and too much obsession with supply-driven training mechanisms, without a natural and spontaneous demand from the recipients of such training, could be counter-productive.
It has perceived the integral and functional relationship between education and skill training, and how one is incomplete without the other. With the latter as the superstructure, the former has to be a substructure, and an effective one. It has perceived with serious concern the ever widening gaps and how this is to the total detriment of employability. On the whole, the Committee has perceived how knowledge, continuing education and skill training are absolutely necessary but not sufficient tools for productivity, efficiency and competitiveness. It has perceived the importance of a credible and efficient system of training, validation and certification of skilled training at various levels, and the importance of laying down credible and practical benchmarks in this area. It has rightly perceived the importance of collaboration and cooperation between governments and the two social partners in all areas of education, continuing education and skills training, the importance of tripartism, partnership and social dialogue, and the need for international cooperation and action.
In addition, the distinguished Vice-Chairpersons mention that over 40 countries participated in the discussion spread over 15 sittings of the Committee. They contributed significantly to the otherwise rich content and quality of the debate. It has been a tremendous opportunity of learning by sharing.
The discussion went on to demonstrate that despite pervasive diversities of training from country to country, from region to region, and even within the same region, there is a tremendous communality centring around recognition of the increasing importance of this subject.
We are living in an age when scientific and technological advancement has been greatly facilitated by the revolution in the area of information and communications technology. The pace and momentum of that revolution is taking place with such rapidity that what is today up to date becomes stale tomorrow. This is an age when the only constant is change. Today's computer chips can perform operations in one billionth of a second which will advance to one trillionth of a second in the foreseeable future. We can communicate with the entire globe and email the contents of all 29 volumes of the Encyclopaedia Britannica in less than a second. Satellite technology brings us facts of life quicker than we can imbibe and assimilate them.
We need to approach the subject of human resources training and development against this total backdrop. Human resources are undoubtedly the finest and the best. The wealth of a country does not lie so much in its natural resources as in the manner in which it is able to develop and effectively utilize the net capacities of its people — that is human resources. Such resources are in continuous need of evolution, adaptation, survival and growth, so that they can withstand the challenges of the age and eventually overcome them with strength, courage and self-confidence. Nothing could be a more potent tool for such evolution, adaptation, survival and growth than skills training.
Skills training implies training in life skills, communication skills, behavioural skills, attitudinal skills, survival skills, vocational skills and entrepreneurial, managerial and supervisory skills. Human capital can best be harnessed with skill formation and skill enhancement, which must be a continuous process. The country with the required capability and skills in place at the right time has a much better chance of taking advantage of the gains which emerge from the interface between rapid globalization and technological change. However, no skills training relevant to these needs is possible without education and without sufficiently high levels of what we in pedagogy call adaptive, cognitive and psycho-motor skills through education.
We have multiple problems to grapple with in the area of skills training, as was evident in the course of deliberations of the Committee. Permanent employment is declining and non-standard or atypical forms of employment and work are increasing. With an increasing shrinkage of jobs in the formal sector, there is an exodus of unskilled and illiterate persons entering the informal sector, which is failing day by day. This phenomenon is associated with increasing job instability and job insecurity, which is further accentuated by migration, both domestic and overseas.
The problem is worse with part-time employees. The skills and competencies of part-time employees who have limited exposure to insufficient continuous training deteriorate faster. All such employees, and women in particular, tend to lose their skills, become less employable and therefore become victims of social exclusion. Equally baffling is the problem of school leavers and laid-off or displaced employees. They end up in the informal sector, but their skills and work attitudes are not really adapted to informal sector work. They remain, therefore, unemployed or seriously underemployed. The existence of socially marginalized youth is a serious threat to decent work and the stability of the social and economic order, and is also an indictment to our entire socio-economic structure. We therefore need multiple recipes to deal with these multiple problems.
To start with, human resources training should focus on developing those multiple skills and competencies which will help countries, enterprises and individuals to seize new opportunities. Secondly, technologies are not static, but continuously evolving. As markets, technology and work organizations change, knowledge and skills quickly become obsolete. They have to be renewed or replaced on a continuous basis. Lifelong learning and continuing education, therefore, become absolute imperatives of an age characterized by a lot of modernization and innovation. Thirdly, developing countries need to raise the levels of the basic education and skills of their population so that the latter can observe and assimilate higher technical skills. Fourthly, there is the need to introduce systems and lay down norms and criteria for testing and certification at the federal, provincial and local authority levels. There is also the need to ensure that the entire system is functional, credible, transparent, non-intrusive, non-threatening and non-bureaucratic. Fifthly, there is the need to recognize that achieving the above gains is possible only with investment to build up the necessary physical infrastructure. While this may be the primary responsibility of the government to start with, governments need to be supplemented, complemented and strengthened by industry, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and other stakeholders. This point has been adequately recognized in the conclusions and recommendations of the Committee.
To sum up, it is neither the state nor the market forces who can take complete responsibility for managing skills training systems relevant to today's market needs. Complete state control makes a training system too stereotyped. Such a system is also ill equipped to adjust itself to the changing requirements of a changing labour market. Complete privatization of training leads to limited coverage, poor content and poor portability of skills. We need a synthesis of both to bring about the much needed convergence which can impart the much needed resilience and strength, and stand the test of time.
The report of the Committee which is the finest product of consensus, has come like a breath of fresh air. It is indeed a state of the art report, as stated by the distinguished Vice-Chairperson of the Committee from the Employers' group. It has recognized the primacy and centrality of human resources. It has recognized the need for continuous evolution and adaptation of that resource to change. It acknowledges how su
ch a resource can be defined, sharpened and made fully adaptable to individual learning, attainment of a high level of adaptive, cognitive and psycho-motor skills, individual and group creativity, teamwork and innovation and their natural and spontaneous recognition by the State, by the employers and by the trade unions. It acknowledges that the process leading to evolution and growth of a complete human being, through education and skills training, is not something which is utopian, but rather possible, perceivable and achievable. Such a stage cannot, however, be achieved overnight. It requires an enormous amount of planned, coordinated and concerted efforts.
The conclusions and recommendations of the Committee have a permanent import and can easily stand the test of time. I must acknowledge a deep sense of appreciation and gratitude for the totality of contributions from all concerned quarters — the Employers' group, the Workers' group, and in particular the two distinguished Vice-Chairpersons of both the groups, the Government group and the officers and staff of the Office who made this all become possible.
We look forward to the ILO and its support for translating these conclusions into concrete action for the total well-being of mankind, and in particular for the empowerment of the over 800 million illiterate persons in Asia, Africa and Latin America who are still struggling to find a place in history for themselves by acquiring access to the world of information, communication, modernization and innovation.
I would like to conclude by quoting from the preamble to the Constitution of UNESCO: “Since wars begin in the minds of men …”, the war against illiteracy and the resultant lack of access to knowledge information and skills must arouse and awaken that international critical consciousness in the minds of all right thinking men and women of the twentieth century and those who are present in this august body so that each one can contribute, each one can participate and each one can eventually own this global campaign.
(Mr. Moorhead takes the Chair.)
THE PRESIDENT (Mr. MOORHEAD) — We will now proceed to the general discussion concerning the Report of the Committee on Human Resources Training and Development.
Mr. LAL (Minister of Labour, the State of Himachal Pradesh, India) — Really I am most thankful to the Chairperson for giving me an opportunity to speak in this Conference. The ILO report on training for employment, social inclusion, productivity and youth employment particularly relates to the future global labour market and employment scenario in the next few decades.
In the context of human resources development and training, this report examines the unavoidable shift towards the knowledge/skills-based economy, driven by the impressive growth of information and communication technologies.
The report underscores the fact that those societies and countries, which have over the years established a stronger human capital base, with the emphasis on basic quality education and broad-based vocational training, are in a better position to have opportunities in the emerging areas.
It is in this context, that the report stresses the need for a high quality of basic education, continuous learning, teamwork and the need for building the capacity to assimilate new knowledge.
We congratulate the ILO for producing this excellent paper which formed the basis for the ensuing informed and lively discussion. The conclusions that have been reached reflect the concerns of the international community. The report pertinently points out the major responsibility of governments in the areas of basic education and development of essential skills and competencies.
The task ahead is arduous, no doubt, and we have to strive hard for social and economic inclusion of large sections of the work force, especially its younger and older members. In our respective countries, this will need continuous dialogue and synergy of governments with workers' and employers' representatives.
We are particularly happy to note the strong promotional role of the ILO, which has facilitated the establishment of an effective database on comparable qualifications in different countries and provided a platform for sharing various countries' experiences in human resources development. The ILO will promote better international understanding and enhance its relevance.
I am especially confident that the ILO will also take initiatives to ensure that less developed countries are able to overcome critical bottlenecks in respect of investment and capacity building in human resources development.
In India, we have had a good track record of running the national and vocational training system on a tripartite basis, but both central and state governments have joint responsibility. We have a separate national tripartite organization for institution-based craft trading and industry-based apprenticeship training.
The training of those who train women's vocational training, high-tech institution training, as well as the development of instructional media packages, are a part of this national system.
The activities of the state government are encouraging us to have state-level councils to promote region-specific demands of skills. Our Government has taken note of the changing global trends and has prepared a comprehensive vocational training policy which is under consideration by the national Government.
We have prepared this draft policy on the basis of extensive consultations and it takes into account the weaknesses, as well as the strengths of the existing system.
The demand for high quality goods and services, the shift towards the services sector, the impact of closer integration with the global economy, the problems of funding and advent of the information age, have all been taken into account.
The interaction that we have had here when discussing the present agenda item, has given us valuable input for devising action plans which will follow up the policy.
Mr. LAMBERT (Employer delegate, United Kingdom) — I just want to comment briefly because the hour is late and I know that if it drags on, people lose attention. So I would like to just make a few, I hope pertinent, comments about what I believe is one of the fundamentals of what we have been discussing, in what I believe has been a most helpful, constructive and enjoyable series of discussions. I would like to compliment Mr. Renique and Mr. Patel for their excellent work. I really did enjoy listening to them talk to each other. It has been quite fascinating.
The thing I wanted to touch on just briefly was the whole question of youth unemployment. One of the biggest issues, I believe, with regard to the future of our industrialized world is to ensure that young people in the transition from education to work have the real opportunity to learn, not just basic skills learned at school. The fundamental question is — how do you help young people in their transition from school to work?
I have spent my life working in the world's motor industry. When I was a young man and I joined the Ford motor company, there were about 60 companies making cars, trucks and tractors, around the world. Today, there are not much more than eight or ten. And that is reflected throughout the manufacturing sector.
If you look at the manufacturing sector that exists today, it is significantly diminished and the companies have gotten smaller, with takeovers and everything else. Of course what that means is that in the past, when young people could aspire to working in their local company, whether it was in America or in London, in South Africa or Australia, wherever, they would have the chance to go and work in their local factory, to have an apprenticeship, to have the opportunity to learn, not only through a good basic education, but to move into an education through work which helped them to progress in their working lives.
Now, the big concern for us today is how to ensure that young people have the same opportunities at a time when manufacturing is in decline. Of course when I talk about manufacturing, you can say the same about most factories around the world, most offices and laboratories, and the same factors apply. This trend in the world's manufacturing is going to be one of the major factors which affect young people's ability to learn in the world of work.
And so, I believe that it is incumbent upon all of us — countries, governments, employers and workers — to take on the responsibility of trying to make sure that our young people have genuine opportunities.
I believe that this is so fundamental, not only in terms of the world of work, but in terms of social order. You know as well as I do, and we see it on our streets, that unemployed people turn their minds to other things. I do not mean all of them, but some do. They turn their minds to idleness, they sometimes turn their minds to crime. And I believe that so many of the social problems that we face often go back to the lack of genuine opportunity.
And so I thought it might be a little bit helpful if I just gave you a couple of small snippets of what is happening in the United Kingdom and what is happening in my company, FIAT — how we are trying to make sure that this sort of thing does not happen.
In the United Kingdom last year, we announced a new deal for 18-24 year olds, and this offers four options to unemployed young people. One is a job with an employer, which involves six months of training with an employer for a wage of £60 a week. In other words, the Government is funding the employer.
Other possibilities are work in a voluntary sector organization or a place on an environmental task force. In other words, making sure that the environment in which people live is improved. The fourth option is full-time education and training.
Now, I could go through lots of statistics, but I said I would not talk for long, so I will just give you the bottom line. Youth employment in Britain is now at its lowest level since 1975, because these programmes have resulted in a 40 per cent reduction. Another initiative in my country is something we call “sure start”. This programme is a radical cross-departmental strategy to improve services for young people, children and families. It is targeted mainly at children between the ages of four and ten years, from families in need.
The Government has set aside £540 million over the next three years to deliver this programme. Its key is the Government's drive to prevent social exclusion, raise educational standards, reduce health inequities and promote opportunity. And the key principles I think are those which we would all support, including the signposting of specialized services, involvement of parents, avoiding stigma and ensuring lasting support.
So, there are a few snippets of what is happening in one particular country. I would like to add just a few words about what FIAT has done to ensure that young people leaving university have the chance to learn about the world of work.
The Fiat Group employs 350,000 people around the world and has decided that young people should be trained internationally. We therefore have been recruiting young people from all over the world, without restriction, and we have set a target of 500 in the next three years. They must speak English or Italian. Most people these days, not all, speak some English, but not many people “parle italiano”, so we teach them Italian for six months. And then, for the first 18 months they work in the manufacturing sector of FIAT. During the next 18 months they work in a commercial sales and marketing sector of FIAT, and for the last 18 months they work in an engineering sector. And at the end of that five years they will speak at least two languages, instead of the one they started with, and they will be trained in working cross-sectorally in a major corporation. That is going to ensure that you have people from all over the world who can move into a company where they will be given truly international opportunities.
That is what I wanted to say. I believe that the world of work for young people is the most important thing when they leave school, and for us not to provide these opportunities would be shame on us all. So we must make sure that we do.
Ms. WALKER (Employers' adviser, United States) — Over the last two and a half weeks we in the Committee on Human Resources Training and Development have enjoyed a spirited discussion on the realities of training and education around the world, in developed and developing countries, and in many forms of industry.
The overarching theme of the discussion was that training is the key to economic growth, business competitiveness and worker employability. Increased dialogue between the social partners is needed to guarantee the appropriate education and training is targeted at those who need it most.
In the United States 73 per cent of United States business provides some type of formal training to its employees. Even when budgets are tight, and competition is intense, United States business agrees with the importance of investing in training and employee development. Overall, United States companies are estimated to spend about $300 billion on total direct and indirect costs of worker training and education each year. United States' employers are utilizing a myriad of ways to deliver training: through corporate universities, partnerships with community colleges, ICT-delivered training and informal workplace training.
Nonetheless, these statistics do not provide a complete picture of training and development. Tomorrow's jobs will require continuously renewed skill sets. New research shows that people can learn continuously. As much as 70 per cent of what employees know about their jobs they have learned informally. Informal learning may be impossible to define as a line item on a budget spreadsheet, but it promises to return considerable value in the quest to develop productive employees. This is especially true for the small and medium enterprises that may not be able to afford many of the popular methods of formal training.
Increased training investments help to attract and retain valuable employees. In the United States it is predicted that by the year 2005 demand will exceed supply for information technology professionals by 1.2 million jobs. About 80 per cent of United States workers polled said training is a somewhat or very important factor in deciding whether to remain in a job or to take a new one. In an increasingly competitive environment for skilled employees, companies will need to work harder to attract and retain workers.
It became clear throughout the discussion of the report of the Office and the conclusions of the Committee that the diversity of training methods and delivery systems indicates that there is no “one size fits all” framework for training or method of investment in training. We heard from developing and developed countries about the successes and failures of their education and training systems. And as we listened it was clear that what we can — and should — do however is to agree on some principles for investment and frameworks for training, set clear standards for the outcome of basic education and organize continued training in such a way that enterprises and workers can fully and freely exercise their responsibility for training.
It also became clear that as training for lifelong learning becomes ever more important, it is integral to a worker's employability that he be provided with a solid basis of primary, secondary and university-level education. This basis should be supported through a dialogue between the social partners to ensure that governments take into account the realities and skill needs of today's workplace. The United States Department of Labor estimates that nearly half of American adults cannot perform the basic skills required for a modern workplace where even simple jobs require higher minimum skills. That means that approximately 90 million United States workers do not possess adequate reading, writing, maths or problem-solving skills. Since the bulk of training goes to those who already have university degrees, it is ever more important that United States workers be provided with a solid basis of education before entering the workforce, to prepare them for lifelong learning in the workplace and to avoid widening the gap between training haves and have-nots.
As the ILO continues to examine the realities of today's workplace, the conclusions of the Committee may contribute to further discussions and work in the ILO on the increasingly important topic of human resources training and development.
Mr. ANAND (Employers' adviser, India) — I am particularly glad to speak again under the chairmanship of the President.
I come to the podium to commend one of the most excellent documents, which is foundational to lasting human resources development across the world. In its implementation, however, we have to go farther than its beautiful text, which is marked by competence and deep commitment. I may in this connection refer to paragraphs 16 and 21, which need special attention and specific follow up.
The report draws attention to progressive growth of adult illiteracy in the least developed countries, which is estimated by UNESCO to concern 188 million people in 2005, as against 144 million in 1985, a rise of 30 per cent, notwithstanding the emphasis hereto on adult education worldwide. Illiteracy and poverty are not only the root causes of child labour, but also a fertile source of mercenary-motivated terrorism and drug trafficking, both being inimical to a stable civil society and socio-economic development dominated by constructive youth. Therefore, at the insistence of the International Organisation of Employers, the 1999 session of the Conference passed a topical resolution on the issue of youth employment which for some reason does not find its due recognition in the report. I am very glad that my group spokesperson had noted it, and made some amendments in his own introductory remarks. Significant elements of this important resolution have perhaps escaped the notice of the Committee in the midst of the debate. Illiteracy also is the root cause of misguided religious fanaticism which in turn contributes to unsavoury social evils and gender discrimination. All these, if not urgently arrested, would further slow down the democratization of societies and conceptual acceptance of decent work, particularly in the developing world and South Asia, where I come from. Education, thus, is a foundational and fundamental prerequisite to us, not only for any vocational or professional training, but for stable democratic societies. It must have its due priority over everything else.
Knowledge is not a prerequisite only for the new society linked to information technologies. It is much more needed in rural and agro-dominated economies like ours, engaged in traditional avocations, in particular in South Asia, to protect robust youth from desperation and degeneration. Equal emphasis on rural infrastructure is therefore essential to close the persisting hiatus between rural and urban societies. For this, much closer and deeper collaboration is essential between the international organizations mentioned in the report, but especially between the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the ILO, a link which has been missing so far. FAO is doing a lot of work in the technological education field in the rural areas and in professions associated with agriculture, in accordance with its mandate. Such collaboration will carry the ILO's coherent message to this part of the informal sector in the economy.
A review of the Human Resources Development Recommendation, 1975 (No. 150), may not be based solely on the terms of reference, as indicated in paragraph 21. This should also be based on obligations assumed by the ILO under the World Summit for Social Development, held in Copenhagen, and commitments made by the heads of world governments on that occasion for poverty eradication. Without due and continued resource flows as committed by the heads of governments and which would hopefully be reiterated in the Copenhagen +5 Conference to be held here in this magnificent hall later this month, implementation would be slow and tardy, slackening the momentum given by the Director-General. This slackening which I foresee would not bring any credit either to the revitalized ILO under the conceptual framework of “decent work” or to the dynamic leadership provided by the Director-General, his team and colleagues and the Governing Body.
These suggestions which I have made are implicit, but are not explicitly stressed in the report. It reflects only the advocacy aspect of the new InFocus activities. Advocacy is truly a marketing technique, and builds hope. The creation of jobs, which is essential for the fulfilment of hope, will depend on the quality and speed of follow-up action on this unanimously adopted document, and an integrated attitude evolved for the new culture of work. We, in the developing countries, therefore look forward to a common response in that direction. These suggestions taken together with others will surely contribute to balancing socio-economic development in the economies and societies of the poorest and most deprived parts of the world, and thus advance the cause not only of human but also of humane development.
With these remarks I commend the report to my colleagues for acceptance by acclamation.
Original Spanish: Ms. CASTRÉLLON (Employers' adviser delegate, Panama) — I am very proud that we are talking about education at this time of night, and that there has been quite a large participation by employers, who have shown a keen interest. This means that we are all increasingly aware of how much attention we must pay to education and training, if we want to live in a better world. I would like to share some thoughts with you all on something which I feel is very important: the responsibility of living in the era of knowledge. We are in a sense privileged to live at a time of constant change. We have before us opportunities and challenges, and the latter are so great that organizations like the ILO, governments, employers, employees and workers have huge duties to humankind, especially if we want to give pride of place to the best resource we have on earth, namely, human beings, human resources, you and me, and everyone else.
This is why we would like to stress the need to focus and make the most of human potential, using the knowledge, skills, abilities and attitudes required for people to develop to their full potential and truly have access to the celebrated equal opportunities, which all human beings deserve. I would like to talk about three basic abilities. One is the ability to acquire new knowledge and new technologies. The second important ability is that of “un-learning”, meaning that things which are no longer useful or have become obsolete need to be left aside. The third ability is that of relearning, relearning concepts that will always be relevant, such as solidarity, teamwork and tolerance. This is why we stress the need for relevant education and training in terms of updated technology, whereby on the one hand you can achieve employability, access to decent work, competitivity, productivity, job preservation, and on the other hand, you can have an increase in the critical mass of companies, and above all, more democratic, fairer, richer societies. The Committee's work is encouraging, above all because there is a convergence of opinions on key areas in our societies, where competitivity will depend upon our human resources. We need to focus on and have faith in people. In a country like ours, Panama, we would like to highlight the importance of combating poverty, unequal distribution of wealth, and above all, the need to reach social and economic levels that our peoples deserve, offering them hope for the future. This is why I want to openly declare the fundamental need to understand that education is a very effective tool for combating the unequal distribution of wealth. In fact, the coefficient that measures the unequal distribution of wealth drops rapidly as education rises. This means that there is a high enough return on investment in education to have a permanent impact on our societies.
Furthermore, I am convinced that people do not want to receive, they want to give; people do not want to be dependent, they want to be independent; people want to make their own way forward. Allowing them to take their place in the economic, social, political and cultural development of their countries is giving them the opportunity to fulfil their dreams.
So let us all be agents for change — employers, workers, governments and the ILO. Let us put our money where our mouths are. Let us take the entire contents of the report of the Committee on Human Resources Training and Development to heart and seek to apply it so that we can so that we can provide hope and greater future opportunities to our societies through increased access to education and training.
Ms. MIDDLETON (Workers' adviser and substitute delegate, New Zealand) — The report of the Committee on Human resources training and development advances in a significant and valuable way the principles for the development of employability. Strong recognition has been given to the importance of primary and secondary education as a base on which to build. The concept of employability presents an opportunity for governments and the social partners to ensure that workers are recognized as whole human beings and not as market-place commodities. Workers will welcome this report for that reason.
Recognition of the role of trade unions and collective bargaining in the implementation and organization of education and training for employability is significant. It is significant for its recognition of employability and also on recognizing the need for partnerships based on governance for how that education and training occurs.
Throughout the report, significant attention has been given to the importance of equity of access and participation. The report has taken careful account of the informal sector in developing countries and the particular requirements of education and training in those areas. Under each of these subjects, the employability of women is recognized as having particular relevance and importance with regard to the education and training they receive. The report acknowledges the significance of prior learning and the need to take account of the often unrecognized skills of women.
In conclusion, the report's discussion of a review of the Human Resources Development Recommendation, 1975 (No. 150), is informed by terms of reference that clearly identify a tripartite commitment to improving education and training for the workers of the world.
It is important that the ILO programme of work over the next two years ensures that the ideas suggested for ongoing research and development and the production of guidelines are implemented. This will inform our work and ensure that we are well positioned for the review of Recommendation No. 150, which is to take place in the 2002-03 biennium.
We thank our Chairperson, Dr. Mishra, for his patience and tolerance throughout our work, and the Worker and Employer Vice-Chairpersons respectively, who ensured that we got the job done. Thank you also to all those who helped us make sure we completed our task.
Original German: Mr. LÜBKE (Workers' adviser, Germany) — As the last speaker this evening, I am going to try to humanize work by keeping my statement as short as possible. Nevertheless, I do feel it is necessary to look at some specific aspects of the work done by the Committee. First, the last resolution and Convention on education and vocational training date from 25 years ago. Now, they need to be improved but are still valid in many areas. Some of these points have not yet been implemented by member States, and I think this is regrettable. I think it would be appropriate for all of us to ensure that what we have not done over these last five years should be done now.
Secondly, there is no doubt that we live in a changing world. We have new information and communication technologies which offer many opportunities. But they also pose dangers and we need to mitigate these dangers and use the opportunities, not only for individuals but also to benefit regions. We need to close the gap between the rich and the poor. We should not focus exclusively on those who already have advantages, but consider the disadvantaged as well.
Thirdly, education, training and skills mean that we need to broaden the definition of employability. I am very happy that the Committee was able to agree unanimously on a broad definition of employability.
Fourthly, lifelong learning requires initial training and continuous training. Only these two together can ensure that lifelong learning can be successful, and for this, quality needs to be guaranteed and standards need to be established along with content. Only if this is done can certification and validation be successful.
Fifthly, the resolution rests on two fundamental pillars. These are: the responsibility of member States and employers; and, tripartism and social partnership. I do not think we have exhausted the possibilities of these two pillars, and we should study them further.
Finally, I also believe that the concerns of the less developed countries should be taken into account, and we must implement appropriate solutions in practice.
We have had a constructive debate over the last two weeks, and for this we have the Chairperson, , the two spokespersons, but also, the members, to thank for this. If we want to continue in this constructive manner, and tap the potential of our results, then we can make a contribution to improving the situation of humanity, to increasing the competitiveness of enterprise and business, and to improving the situation of all member States of this Organization.
The PRESIDENT (Mr. MOORHEAD) — We have now ended the general discussion of the report of the Committee on Human Resources Training and Development, and we shall proceed to the adoption of the body of the report itself, that is, paragraphs 1 to 424. If there are no objections, I shall take it that the report is adopted.
(The report — paragraphs 1 to 424 — is adopted.)
Let us now turn to the adoption of the resolution concerning human resources training and development, which is appended to the text and which contains a certain number of conclusions. If there are no objections, I shall take it that the resolution is adopted.
(The resolution is adopted.)
I wish to thank the Officers and members of the Committee, as well as the secretariat, for the excellent work they have done.
Resolution concerning human resources training and development
The General Conference of the International Labour Organization, meeting in its 88thSession, 2000,
Having undertaken a general discussion on the basis of Report V, “Training for employment: Social inclusion, productivity and youth employment”;
Adopts the following conclusions and invites the Governing Body to request the Director-General to give due consideration to them for the future work of the Office and to take them into account when preparing the programme and budget for the 2002-03 biennium.
Conclusions concerning human resources training and development
1. A critical challenge that faces human society at the start of the twenty-first century is to attain full employment and sustained economic growth in the global economy and social inclusivity. The ILO's framework of decent work addresses both the quality and quantity of employment and provides a basis for new education and training policies and strategies. Human resources development, education and training contribute significantly to promoting the interests of individuals, enterprises, economy and society. By making individuals employable and informed citizens, human resources development and training contribute to economic development and to achieving full employment and promoting social inclusion. They also help individuals to gain access to decent work and good jobs, and escape poverty and marginalization. Education and skills formation could lead to less unemployment and to more equity in employment. The economy and society at large, like individuals and enterprises, benefit from human resources development and training. The economy becomes more productive, innovative and competitive through the existence of more skilled human potential. Human resources development and training also underpin the fundamental values of society – equity, justice, gender equality, non-discrimination, social responsibility, and participation.
2. Technological changes, changes in financial markets, the emergence of global markets for products and services, international competition, dramatic increases in foreign direct investment, new business strategies, new management practices, new forms of business organization and of the organization of work are among the more significant developments that are transforming the world of work. Many of these developments are also components of globalization which is the name given to the various processes producing the dramatically increased integration of economic activity in the world today. These developments offer both opportunities and challenges for enterprises, workers and countries. For enterprises increased competition has meant more winners and losers. For countries globalization has increased both national development and disadvantages as globalization has exacerbated differences in the relative advantages of countries. For some workers these developments have resulted in career opportunities or successful self-employment, improved living standards and prosperity but for other workers they have resulted in job insecurity or unemployment, declining living standards and poverty. Many of these developments are dramatically increasing the importance of the application of human knowledge and skills to economic activity. Human resources development, education and training are necessary and essential elements required to take both full advantage of the opportunities and to rise to the challenges of these developments for enterprises, workers and countries. There is a growing recognition that globalization has a social dimension that requires a social response. Education and training are components to both the economic and social response to globalization.
3. Education and training cannot alone address this challenge, but should go hand-in-hand with economic, employment and other policies to establish, in an equitable manner, the new knowledge and skills-based society in the global economy. Education and training have distinct but converging outcomes as society is changing. They have both a dual rationale: develop skills and knowledge that will help countries, enterprises and individuals utilize the new opportunities and enhance the employability, productivity and income-earning capacity of many population groups that have been adversely affected by globalization and changes in society at large. Education and training are necessary for economic and employment growth and social development. They also contribute to personal growth and provide the foundation of an informed citizenry. Education and training are a means to empower people, improve the quality and organization of work, enhance citizens' productivity, raise workers' incomes, improve enterprise competitiveness, promote job security and social equity and inclusion. Education and training are therefore a central pillar of decent work. Education and training help individuals become more employable in rapidly changing internal and external labour markets.
4. Human resources training and development are fundamental, but are by themselves insufficient to ensure sustainable economic and social development, or resolve the aggregate employment challenge. They should be coherent and form an integrated part of comprehensive economic, labour market and social policies and programmes that promote economic and employment growth. Policies that expand aggregate demand in the economy such as macroeconomic and other measures must be combined with supply-side policies, e.g. science and technology, education and training, and industrial and enterprise policies. Appropriate fiscal policies, social security and collective bargaining are among the means to distribute these economic gains on a fair and equitable basis, and constitute basic incentives to invest in training. Pursuing these integrated policies requires consideration of a new financial and social architecture for the global economy, a subject for ILO research.
5. It is the task of basic education to ensure to each individual the full development of the human personality and citizenship; and to lay the foundation for employability. Initial training develops further his or her employability by providing general core work skills, and the underpinning knowledge, and industry-based and professional competencies which are portable and facilitate the transition into the world of work. Lifelong learning ensures that the individual's skills and competencies are maintained and improved as work, technology and skill requirements change; ensures the personal and career development of workers; results in increases in aggregate productivity and income; and improves social equity. Both in developed countries as well as in developing countries there are many workers without the basic skills for literacy and numeracy. National and international strategies have to be developed to eliminate illiteracy, based on concrete targets, benchmarks and quality assessment.
6. Education and training of high quality are major instruments to improve overall socio-economic conditions and to prevent and combat social exclusion and discrimination, particularly in employment. In order to be effective they must cover everyone, including disadvantaged groups. Therefore, they must be carefully targeted at women and persons with special needs, including rural workers; people with disabilities; older workers; the long-term unemployed, including low-skilled workers; young people; migrant workers; and workers laid off as a result of economic reform programmes, or industrial and enterprise restructuring. In addressing the needs of these groups, particularly of young people, access to a combination of formal, off-the-job, and workplace learning should be systematically offered and developed as it provides for effective learning outcomes and increases the chance of entering the labour market.
7. Training can be one of the instruments that, together with other measures, address the challenge of the informal sector. The informal sector is not a sector in the traditional sense of economic classification but a name given to the economic activity of persons in a variety of situations, most of which are survival activities. Informal sector work is unprotected work that is, for the most part, characterized by low earnings and low productivity. The role of training is not to prepare people for the informal sector and keep them in the informal sector; or to expand the informal sector; but rather it should go in conjunction with other instruments, such as fiscal policies, provision of credit, and extension of social protection and labour laws, to improve the performance of enterprises and the employability of workers in order to transform what are often marginal, survival activities into decent work fully integrated into mainstream economic life. Prior learning and skills gained in the sector should be validated, as they will help the said workers gain access to the formal labour market. The social partners should be fully involved in developing these programmes.
8. Education and training are a right for all. Governments, in cooperation with the social partners, should ensure that this right is universally accessible. It is the responsibility of all persons to make use of the opportunities offered. Free universal, quality public primary and secondary education must be made available to all children, and they should not be denied sustained access to education through child labour. Education cannot be separated from training. Basic and secondary education is the foundation on which an effective vocational education and training system should be built. Good quality basic education and initial training, availability of adult and second chance education, together with a learning culture, ensure high levels of participation in continuous education and training. Qualified teachers and trainers are the fundamental key to providing quality education for helping children and adults reach high standards in academic and vocational competencies. Their recruitment, remuneration, education, training and retraining, assignment and provision of adequate facilities are critical elements of any successful educational system.
In addition to education and training, career guidance and job placement services (career development services) embracing career education, career counselling, employment counselling and educational, vocational and labour market information, all have a crucial role to play in human resources development. The fostering of a career development culture throughout education, training systems as well as employment services is a means to promote continuous learning. The development of this culture among youth and adults will be of particular importance for ensuring their employability and facilitating their transition from education and training to work or further training.
9. Employability is defined broadly. It is a key outcome of education and training of high quality, as well as a range of other policies. It encompasses the skills, knowledge and competencies that enhance a worker's ability to secure and retain a job, progress at work and cope with change, secure another job if she/he so wishes or has been laid off, and enter more easily into the labour market at different periods of the life cycle. Individuals are most employable when they have broad-based education and training, basic and portable high-level skills, including teamwork, problem solving, information and communications technology (ICT) and communication and language skills, learning to learn skills, and competencies to protect themselves and their colleagues against occupational hazards and diseases. This combination of skills enables them to adapt to changes in the world of work. Employability also covers multiple skills that are essential to secure and retain decent work. Entrepreneurship can contribute to creating opportunities for employment and hence to employability. Employability is, however, not a function only of training – it requires a range of other instruments which results in the existence of jobs, the enhancement of quality jobs, and sustainable employment. Workers' employability can only be sustained in an economic environment that promotes job growth and rewards individual and collective investments in human resources training and development.
10. There is tripartite and international consensus about guaranteeing universal access of all to, and increasing and optimizing overall investment in, basic education, initial training and continuous training. Discrimination which limits access to training should be combated both by anti-discrimination regulations as well as by common action of social partners. These principles have been endorsed already in the Tripartite Declaration of Principles concerning Multinational Enterprises and Social Policy adopted by the Governing Body, 1977. The Committee endorsed the core commitments made in the Cologne Charter of the Group of Eight leading industrialized nations (G8) in 1999 calling for renewed commitment of all partners to lifelong learning: “... by governments, investing to enhance education and training at all levels; by the private sector, training existing and future employees; by individuals, developing their own abilities and careers”. However, structural adjustment programmes, restrictive fiscal policies, low wages, debt repayment obligations, decline of development assistance flows, competitive price pressures on enterprises and lack of resources of large sections of the population in a number of cases induce governments, enterprises and individuals to under-invest in education and training. Furthermore, market uncertainties, poaching of skills by other enterprises and the growth of insecure forms of work and consequential high turnover of staff may reduce enterprises' incentives to invest in training. This is especially true for the least developed countries, most of which are in Africa, given their dire socio-economic situation. The culture of developing, on a continuous basis, individual and collective skills for enhanced productivity and employability in a rapidly changing environment has to be improved further.
11. The cost of education and training should be seen as an investment. Increasing this investment can be fostered by recognizing that investing in education and training can be a shared responsibility of both the public and private sector. Government must always assume the primary responsibility for investing in basic education and initial training, and it should also invest in other forms of training. Government must also share the greatest responsibility for investments directed at groups where combating social exclusion or discrimination is an important objective. With respect to the responsibility of individuals, the government must also share responsibility in order that access not be denied on financial grounds and to the detriment of the broader interest of society. Government, as an employer, must also assume responsibility to invest in training. With respect to the private sector, the responsibilities of both enterprises and individuals should be recognized and, where appropriate, encouraged. These responsibilities are especially appropriate with respect to investment in workplace-based and continuous education, which can raise workers' employability and the competitiveness of enterprises. The organization and implementation of private sector responsibilities in this area can best be accomplished through partnerships between the government and enterprises, between government and the social partners or between the social partners. Ensuring increased investment for SMEs is especially suitable to a partnership approach.
12. There is no universal model of investing in training. Governments should create a general economic environment and incentives conducive to encourage individuals and enterprises to invest individually or jointly in education and training. This investment and the responsibility for it should generally be determined by the objectives of training, e.g.individual, enterprise or societal objectives. Countries can use different ways and means to foster investment in training and increase resources for training. Enterprises have a critical role to play in investment in training. A number of mechanisms used in combination to further investment in training and to guarantee access are required. These may include levy systems on enterprises accompanied by public grants, establishment of training funds, various incentives for training and learning, e.g. tax rebates, training credits, training awards, individual training accounts, collective and individual training rights, sabbatical leave, collective training agreements and emulation of national and international best practices of investing in training. The chosen mechanisms should take into account the special needs of the SMEs. Where levies are the chosen mechanism for funding training, the governance of funding distribution should be tripartite, or where these are agreed by the social partners, such governance should be bipartite. Decisions regarding government policies on education and training should be based on genuine tripartite dialogue and give the tripartite partners the opportunity to develop the best ways and means to increase investments in training. Measures such as the provision of childcare facilities are needed to facilitate access to training.
One means of encouraging countries and companies to increase current efforts to invest in training and to provide a measurable and comparative basis towards which we can all endeavour is to develop benchmarks. The ILO should develop a database on current expenditures on vocational and continuing training, and suggest a series of benchmarks on investment in training, possibly differentiated for different regions of the world, size of companies or sector of industry, as a mirror and point of orientation for countries, sectors, and companies.
13. Flatter hierarchical structures, and devolved decision-making, initiative and control, also widen the need for higher-level skills and training, and result in increased responsibility for workers. ICT is accelerating these management trends and changes in the world of work in general.
ICT has the potential to improve enormously people's access to quality education and training, including in the workplace. There is however a danger that these technologies may create a “digital divide” and worsen existing inequalities in education and training between urban and rural areas, between rich and poor, between those who possess and those who lack literacy and numeracy skills and between developed and developing countries. Countries should expand their investment in the infrastructure needed for use of ICT, in education and training hardware and software, and in the training of teachers and trainers. Such investments should be undertaken by both the public and private sectors, and make use of collaborative local, national and international networks. Governments may also provide incentives for the private sector and individuals to encourage computer literacy and to develop new communication skills. New modes and methods need to be deployed for training and learning when using ICT.
Distance-learning methods can be used to make training available at convenient times, at accessible places or at reduced costs. Distance learning should not replace all other learning on teaching methods but can be a valuable part of the total teaching tools available. Distance learning should, as far as possible, be combined with traditional training methods in order to avoid a sense of isolation of the learner. The social framework for training needs to be adapted to these new forms of training.
14. The many driving forces, as mentioned in paragraph 2, have a significant impact on organization and working methods of companies. Also, new sectors are emerging, many of them based on the use of ICT products and services, including the Internet. All this increases demand for new skills and competencies, including personal skills and ICT competencies. Education and training need to respond to these new demands, both those related to ICT and those related to changing work organization.
15. Electronic networking provides opportunities for learners to assist each other more actively, for learners to be more active in the training and education process, and for formal and non-conventional teaching methods to be utilized. In order to apply ICT in training, trainers must master these technologies and be systematically trained. Teaching methods need to be updated to accommodate the teaching of new developments in ICT, new types of organization of schools should be devised to take full advantage of ICT; and the individual needs to learn self-learning methods. New training is needed to provide trainers and individuals with these skills. Enterprises may provide ICT facilities or support schemes for workers for the use of ICT at home or in general, and to schools or other training providers, in order to promote the diffusion of ICT skills and access in society. Appropriate government incentives could facilitate this development.
16. For many developing countries, the challenges are much more basic. Societies with huge and growing levels of adult illiteracy, and massive debt crises, will not be able to design, fund or implement the modern education and training policies which are prerequisites for development and economic growth. In the age of the knowledge society, 884 million adults are illiterate, unable to operate effectively even with the intellectual tools of the “old economy”. UNESCO estimates that, in the least developed countries, while 144 million adults were illiterate in 1985, by 2005 this will rise to 188 million – in other words, the number of illiterate adults will grow by 30 per cent in the least developed countries. Additionally, structural adjustment programmes have in specific instances operated to reduce public investment in education, thus further weakening the longer term capacity for economic growth and development.
Much of the developing world lack access to the physical infrastructure through which much of the new knowledge is pulsing. The lack of electricity and telephones, the cost of computers and Internet access, all contribute to deprive citizens, enterprises and workers in developing countries from benefiting from the ICT revolution, and create the conditions for a “digital divide” to grow between countries. Developing countries should make greater efforts to invest in ICT and to develop ICT-appropriate methods of teaching rather than simply adding computers to existing teaching methods.
The international community should, as part of creating the conditions for skills formation in the least developed economies, undertake bold and substantial debt relief, or, where appropriate, debt cancellation; help mobilize resources for programmes to secure basic literacy and numeracy and the development of communication and information infrastructure; and assist with training in the new information and communication technologies. This is a direct challenge to the ILO and international development agencies.
Multinational corporations should be encouraged to agree fair technology transfer agreements, to develop local high-level skills in developing countries, and to help create the infrastructure for the new knowledge economy. The contributions to development that multinational companies can make through training as elaborated in the Tripartite Declaration of Principles concerning Multinational Enterprises and Social Policy should be recalled.
These measures, taken together, contribute to developing the economies and societies of the poorest parts of the world. They provide a ladder through which developing countries can move up the value chain in production, making goods and providing services which add significant economic value, and which receive significant economic return in the global economy. Education and training is one of the packages of measures to leapfrog from underdevelopment to the information society.
In developing an education and training base in developing countries, the existence of new technology can open up new possibilities and possibly save costs on more traditional methods. This is a major challenge for the developing countries to invest in ICT and develop appropriate policies.
Closer collaboration is needed between the ILO, UNESCO and other international organizations; regional organizations, such as the EU and MERCOSUR; and donor countries that place high priority on human resources development and training. It should also work more closely with international financial institutions such as the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, and regional development banks, to ensure that structural adjustment programmes do not inhibit investments in education and training. Greater national and international efforts also should be made to eradicate illiteracy worldwide. All of these measures and support can only be effective if the developing countries make efforts to set up policies and programmes to promote economic growth and develop their human talent.
17. The development of a national qualifications framework is in the interest of enterprises and workers as it facilitates lifelong learning, helps enterprises and employment agencies match skill demand with supply, and guides individuals in their choice of training and career. The framework should consist of a number of elements: appropriate, transferable, broad and industry-based and professional competency standards, established by the social partners, that reflect the skills required in the economy and public institutions, and vocational and academic qualifications; and a credible, fair and transparent system of assessment of skills learned and competencies gained, irrespective of how and where they have been learned, e.g. through formal and non-formal education and training, work experience and on-the-job learning.
Every person should have the opportunity to have his or her experiences and skills gained through work, through society or through formal and non-formal training assessed, recognized and certified. Programmes to compensate for skill deficits by individuals through increased access to education and training should be made available as part of recognition of prior learning programmes. Assessment should identify skill gaps, be transparent, and provide a guide to the learner and training provider. The framework should also include a credible system of certification of skills that are portable and recognized across enterprises, sectors, industries and educational institutions, whether public or private.
The assessment methodology should be fair, linked to standards, and be non-discriminatory. Potential hidden discrimination should be actively guarded against. For example, the shift to the service sector, with an overall stronger female component, often relies on greater communication and problem-solving skills, which are not always explicitly recognized. Similarly, testing systems conducted in an individual's second language sometimes distort results of technical and other skills possessed. New forms of work organization often shift the skills requirements within an enterprise. For example, flatter managerial structures are predicated on shifting certain responsibilities from management to the workforce. These should result in explicit recognition of the new competencies required by the workforce under these circumstances; and reward systems have to take these into account.
The vocational qualifications system should be tripartite, offer access to workers and anybody wanting to learn, should cover public and private training providers and be updated on a continuous basis. It should ensure multiple entry and exit points in the education and training system during a worker's career. The ILO should develop a database on best practices in developing a national qualifications framework, conduct a general study on the comparability of different national qualifications frameworks based on this database, and undertake research into recognition of prior learning.
18. Trade unions and employer associations may also contribute to training by managing their own training institutions and providing education for their members. Particularly at the sector and enterprise levels, collective bargaining can set appropriate conditions for the organization and implementation of training. Such collective bargaining could encompass issues such as:
– skills required by the enterprise and the economy;
– training necessary for workers;
– assessment of basic skills and skills gained either in the workplace or during individual or associative activities;
– development of career paths for workers;
– personal training and development plans for workers;
– facilities needed to allow the maximum benefits from training;
– recognition and reward schemes, including remuneration structuring.
19. The social partners should strengthen social dialogue on training, share responsibility in formulating education and training policies, and engage in partnerships with each other or with governments for investing in, planning and implementing training. In training, networks of cooperation also include regional and local government, various ministries, sector and professional bodies, training institutions and providers, non-governmental organizations, etc. Government should establish a framework for effective social dialogue and partnerships in training and employment. This should result in a coordinated education and training policy at national level, and long-term strategies, which are formulated in consultation with the social partners and are integrated with economic and employment policies. It should also include tripartite, national and sector training arrangements, and provide for a transparent and comprehensive training and labour market information system. Enterprises are primarily responsible for training their employees and apprentices, but also share responsibility in initial vocational training of young people to meet their future needs.
20. The scope and effectiveness of social dialogue and partnerships in training is currently limited by the capacity and resources of actors. It varies between countries, sectors and large and small enterprises. Recent regional economic integration also brings a new dimension to social dialogue on training and the need for capacity building. There is a pressing need to raise this capacity by various means such as technical cooperation, public grants to trade union and employer organizations, and exchanging experience and best practices between countries. Education and training in industrial relations and on trade union education, business administration and the social contribution by the work and the organization of the social partners, should also be an integral part of capacity building and a part of initial and vocational training. Being a tripartite organization, the ILO should lead international cooperation to build up capacities for social dialogue and partnership building in training. Additional efforts should be made for the benefit of developing countries.
21. Terms of reference for a review of the Human Resources Development Recommendation, 1975, (No. 150), should be based on the present conclusions, adopted by the International Labour Conference at its 88th Session, 2000, the conclusions of the Cologne Charter 1999, and the statements on this subject jointly made by international employer and trade union organizations; and should include the following:
(1) address training and education needs in the modern world of work in both developing and developed countries, and promote social equity in the global economy;
(2) advance the decent work concept through defining the role of education and training;
(3) promote lifelong learning, enhance employability of the world's workers, and address the economic challenges;
(4) recognize the various responsibilities for investment and funding of education and training;
(5) promote national, regional and international qualifications frameworks which include provisions for prior learning;
(6) improve access and equity of opportunity for all workers to education and training;
(7) build the capacity of the social partners for partnerships in education and training;
(8) address the need for increased technical and financial assistance for the less advantaged countries and societies.
Recommendation No. 150 should be revised in order to reflect the new approach to training. Although some aspects of the Recommendation are still valid, others have lost their relevance. There is a need for a more dynamic instrument that is more applicable and used by member States and the social partners in formulating and implementing human resources development polices, integrated with other economic and social policies, particularly employment policies. Anew recommendation should be complemented by a practical guide and database that can be renewed on a continuous basis by the Office as part of its normal work.
Updated by HK. Approved by RH. Last update: 14 June 2000.