Skills and Employability Branch (SKILLS)

Governments, employers' associations and trade unions around the world are working to improve the employability of workers, move young people into productive and decent work, and increase the productivity of enterprises through better quality and relevant training. The Skills and Employability Branch conducts comparative research and provides policy guidelines and technical assistance to help constituents integrate skills development into national and sector development strategies.

The ILO's work with constituents focuses primarily on three areas: linking training to current labour market needs as well as anticipating and building competencies for the jobs of the future; building quality apprenticeship systems and incorporating core skills into training for young people; and expanding access to employment-related training in rural communities in order to improve livelihoods, reduce poverty, and equip women and men to work in the formal economy.

What's new

  1. Policy Brief

    Workers' organizations engaging in skills development

    This policy brief highlights ILO support for the engagement of workers organisations in skills development policies and systems. It also provides examples of engagement at the national sectoral and enterprise levels and proposes priority areas for workers organisations as they engage in skills development in the future. The policy brief is the product of a joint effort by the Skills and Employability Branch (SKILLS) and Bureau for Workers Activities (ACTRAV) of the International Labour Organization (ILO).

  2. Concept Paper

    Lifelong learning: Concepts, issues and actions

    Lifelong Learning is emerging as a key policy issue as we move towards a future of work that continues to challenge traditional views about careers and labour market transitions. Following the landmark report of the ILO Global Commission on the Future of Work, many questions have been raised about the concept of LLL itself, the issues that surround it and the actions that the ILO can take to address it. This paper introduces readers to these debates and provides a useful introduction to the concept and the challenges that need to be addressed if the vision for LLL of the Global Commission can be achieved.


  3. Flyer

    Lifelong learning and the future of work: Challenges and opportunities

    This flyer aims to raise awareness on the concept of lifelong learning. It also provides insights on to whom does lifelong learning apply as well as on the role governments, employers and workers play in supporting lifelong learning goals.

  4. Policy Brief

    Quality Apprenticeships: Addressing skills mismatch and youth unemployment

    This policy brief presents an overview of quality apprenticeships promoted by the ILO through outlining their key characteristics, benefits and challenges, as well as examining the building blocks and policy pointers for developing a successful quality apprenticeship system.

  5. Event

    Boosting Skills for a Just Transition and the Future of Work - 6 June, 2019

    ILO Global Forum on a Just Transition towards Environmentally Sustainable Economies and Societies for All. The Forum will present the results of the research project conducted in 31 countries.

  6. A joint ILO/IOE publication

    Tools for Quality Apprenticeships: a Guide for Enterprises

    This guide aims to show, through actual examples which are used day in and day out by employers in the real world, how enterprises manage the various processes which need to be undertaken to deliver a successful apprenticeship programme.

  7. Brochure

    Skills and Employability

    This brochure provides an overview of the main areas of work of the Skills and Employability Branch of the Employment Policy Department.

  8. Issue Brief 8

    Skills policies and systems for a future workforce

    This Issue Brief is part of the Future of Work briefs prepared by the ILO. It provides an overview of skills requirements for the future of work and considers how skills development systems might be transformed to meet these needs. The brief also raises questions about the financing of lifelong learning, as well as about the respective responsibilities of governments, enterprises and workers.

  9. Skills for Employment Policy Briefs

    Policy Briefs in the series are authored by the technical specialists of the Skills and Employability Department and aim to present a short overview of particular areas related to skills development, policies and systems, and training.

Recent publications

  1. Working Paper

    Does work-based learning facilitate transitions to decent work?

    This paper examines the different forms of work-based learning, and takes stock of available data on the labour market impact such schemes where they exist. It finds evidence of positive impacts of formal structured work-based learning, and argues that future efforts should encourage engagement with private sector firms in creating and expanding such structured opportunities for young people.

  2. Skill needs anticipation

    Systems and approaches - Analysis of stakeholder survey on skill needs assessment and anticipation

    This publication is joint publication of the ILO, the European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training (Cedefop), the European Training Foundation (ETF) and the OECD.

  3. Apprenticeships

    A step-by-step guide to promote quality apprenticeships

    This publication was developed as part of the project entitled "EC-ILO action on youth employment policies: Enhancing capabilities of practitioners to design, implement and monitor youth employment policies - under the Council Recommendation on establishing a Youth Guarantee".


  1. Workshop

    Workshop on big data for skills anticipation and matching

    19-20 September 2019

  2. Event

    Sub-Regional Tripartite Consultations for the Formulation of Skills Partnerships on Migration in Western Africa and the Sahel

    11-13 September 2019

  3. Event

    Sub-Regional Tripartite Consultations for the Formulation of Skills Partnerships on Migration in Central Africa

    16-18 September 2019

  4. Event

    The 4th Regional Skills Technical Working Group (RSTWG) Meeting

    10-11 July, Manila Philippines

    The meeting aims to facilitate greater understanding of the evolving context of the mutual recognition of skills (MRS) implementation, and the sharing of experiences in a strengthening of the legislative framework and institutional capacity and arrangements of the MRS, among others.