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. Podcast: Employment seminar series

    Future Skills and Educational Ecosystems for Societal Transformation: How to thrive in a complex world

    What are the new and emerging skills? Do current training and education models stand a chance? What has to change? These were among the questions discussed during the Employment Policy Department seminar with Dr. Pavel Luksha, the founder of Global Education Futures, held on 7 December, 2018.

  2. Interview

    Q&A: With ILO’s Paul Comyn ahead of the 2018 Global Education Meeting (GEM)

    In this interview, Paul Comyn talks about what to expect from the 2018 GEM meeting and how the ILO supports the global education targets and commitments in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

  3. A joint ILO/UNESCO report

    Taking a whole of government approach to skills development

    The publication focuses primarily on the interaction between government ministries and agencies at national and subnational levels, examining how governments can work to coordinate technical and vocational education and development (TVET) and skills development across relevant policy domains.

  4. 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.

  5. Guide

    ILO Toolkit for Quality Apprenticeships - Vol. I: Guide for Policy Makers

    The toolkit provides state of the art information and guidance for the design and implementation of quality apprenticeship schemes across different contexts. The new guide was introduced by the ILO Director-General Guy Ryder during the launch of the engagement platform of the Global Initiative on Decent Jobs for Youth, held on 29 November 2017. 

  6. 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. 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.

  2. Event

    International Conference on Innovations in Apprenticeships: A skilled workforce for the Future

    4-5 July

    The ILO, in collaboration with the OECD and the GAN will organise the conference to share and promote innovative approaches to apprenticeships responding to contemporary challenges and provide opportunities to deepen collaboration among key actors of apprenticeships at global, regional and national levels.