Vocational training is key to the future of decent work in the region

ILO-CINTERFOR convenes regional meeting with representatives from 27 countries stressed the need to strengthen professional skills, as a prereuisite to facilitate the access of millions of people to more and better jobs

News | 12 July 2013
PORT OF SPAIN (ILO News) - Strengthening training strategies will be key to meeting the challenges in the labour market in Latin America and the Caribbean, where problems persist as informality, inequality and the high unemployment of young people were highlighted in a regional Meeting convened by the ILO.

Representatives of 65 institutions from 27 countries attended the Meeting from 7 to 10 July in Port of Spain by the ILO American Centre for Knowledge Development in Vocational Training (ILO-CINTERFOR). This Meeting commemorated 50 years of activities in the region.

"This Meeting takes place at a time in which vocational training is considered more than ever as a key component for the future of our societies," said ILO Regional Director for Latin America and the Caribbean, Ms. Elizabeth Tinoco, in a message sent to the participants of the 41 ILO-CINTERFOR Technical Meeting.

The representatives of the institutions that are part of CINTERFOR's network signed a document entitled "Letter of Port of Spain", which recalls that the building of skills is "essential to achieve the goal of decent and productive work in conditions of freedom, equity, security and human dignity ".

The Letter also highlights CINTERFOR's contribution to knowledge-sharing, technology-transfer and the development of "South-South and triangular cooperation."

Tinoco stressed that the region is going through a positive moment of declining unemployment, average wage growth, growth in formal employment and social security coverage, however, there are still pending issues that will be very difficult to surpass if we are not working on the quantity and quality of professional development.

"We need proper training that responds to the real needs of the labour market that suits the rapid changes we face in these new times," said ILO Regional Director.

According to ILO indicators, the region still has very high level of employment in the informal economy, with 47% of those employed in the nonagricultural sector. On the other hand there are structural problems such as youth unemployment rate which doubles the general and triples that of adults, which leads to frustration and disappointment.

The ILO has suggested that one of the factors causing these problems is the lack of training and the fact that many people have skills that do not match the needs of labour markets.

Tinoco considered it "essential to build on the experience of training centres like CINTERFOR's network".

"Now we have to rethink training - articulate better education, training and employment to respond to the great challenges of the region," she added.

In the 'Letter of Port of Spain' institutions said they are prepared to promote the strengthening of the vocational training sector, and also reiterated a "strong will to strengthen our partnership with the ILO".
On the other hand, they said that "the participation of governments, employers' and workers' organizations, through social dialogue, is crucial for the development of professional skills."