Partnerships are key to promote skills development during COVID-19

A new partnership has been signed between the International Labour Organization (ILO), the Commonwealth of Learning (COL), and the Commonwealth Centre for Connected Learning Foundation (3CL).

News | 02 March 2021
What is the importance of partnerships to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on skills development and lifelong learning?

Today, as more organizations recognise the importance of skills development as a tool to tackle the impact of COVID and mitigate the negative affects of labour market change, multiple efforts to strengthen access to skills development and promote upskilling and reskilling exist. Consequently, there has never been a more important time to focus on collaboration and partnerships to build more inclusive and resilient responses to support constituents to build back better.

What is the aim of this new partnership with the Commonwealth Centre for Connected Learning (3CL) and the Commonwealth of Learning (COL)?

This partnership will be guided by common principles of the three organizations which aim to foster lifelong learning, employability, personal empowerment, active citizenship, and promoting the human rights of all learners.
The parties wish to collaborate and share knowledge on technical areas within their areas of competency, primarily on educational technology, online and distance learning and the digitalisation of skills development and technical, vocational and education training (TVET).
Both initial and continuing TVET will be a focus of the new partnership, along with the potential for technology to improve social inclusion and access to learning and skills recognition, including for refugees and migrant workers.

How will the partnership be implemented and what will be some of the key results of this cooperation?

This Letter of Understanding (LOU), signed by the three parties, establish that the partnership will prioritize activities in countries in Africa and in small states, which are defined as countries with a population of 1.5 million people or less.

This LOU has the purpose of increasing communication, information sharing and coordination as well as facilitating concrete collaboration on projects of mutual benefit between the parties.

These are 4 of the key goals expected to accomplish with the partnership:
  • to regularly share Information on projects, plans, the status of implementation and challenges raised by target communities, so that appropriate solutions are formulated
  • to consult on pertinent regional or global issues which require joint communication and action
  • to explore, discuss and, if possible, negotiate a data-sharing agreement that improves collaboration and ensures data protection
  • to support and coordinate efforts in building the capacity of partners to use digital technologies to promote skills development and lifelong learning

Both the Commonwealth of Learning and the Centre for Connected Learning are recognised leaders in the application of technology in education and training so they are natural partners for the ILO as we look to expand our work in this field and support constituents to deal with the challenges associated with the digitalization of TVET and skill systems."

Srinivas Reddy, ILO's Skills and Employability Branch Chief


The 3CL was established as an international foundation by the Government of Malta in February 2017, and currently operates as a virtual knowledge hub for a global network of groups, agencies, institutions, educators and activists interested in the rapid deployment of programmes for connected learning.

COL is the world’s only intergovernmental organization solely concerned with the promotion and development of distance education and open learning. Hosted by the Government of Canada with headquarters in Burnaby, British Columbia, the organisation is governed by a Board with membership drawn from around the Commonwealth of Nations.

The ILO is the only tripartite specialized agency of the U.N. and brings together governments, employers and workers of 187 member States, to set labour standards, develop policies and devise programmes promoting decent work for all people.