COVID-19: Promoting skills development

Partnership between Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) and Industry: Key to workplace readiness

Indonesian government, businesses and technical vocational education and training providers are facing the challenge of high levels of youth unemployment and a shortage of job seekers with critical skills, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic. The ILO with its social partners discuss some ways to tackle this problem.

News | Jakarta, Indonesia | 03 July 2020
Social distancing measures implemented due to the COVID-19 pandemic and its strong impact to economic activity and employment are affecting school-to-work transition programmes. Nearly all of the vocational training institutions and industries have suspended their face-to-face training activities as well as transition programmes and are operating with distance training in various ways.

The ILO’s latest survey reveals that 80 percent Indonesian youth aged 15-24 years old are confident in getting a decent job after graduating from school. Their confidence is the result of their participation in the transition programmes (89 percent) such as the apprenticeship programme, field visit to the industry and teachers from practitioners. Ninety two percent of respondents also find the apprenticeship programme as the most beneficial transition programme to provide them with relevant skills and real working experience.

We need to start preparing these skillful workers with policy interventions that encourage and support the collaboration between the technical vocational educations & training and the industry."

Tauvik Muhamad, the ILO’s Project Manager for Industry Skills for Inclusive Growth Phase-2 (InSIGHT-2)
To discuss the effectiveness of school to work transition programmes as part of youth skills development and workplace readiness, the ILO in collaboration with the Alliance of Independent Journalists (AJI) Jakarta organized an interactive media discussion, titled “Creating Competent Human Resources in Indonesia’s New Normal Era”, on 1 July, reaching out to 708 viewership.

Tauvik Muhamad, the ILO’s Project Manager for Industry Skills for Inclusive Growth Phase-2, reminded the participants about the demographic bonus faced by Indonesia in the next five to 10 years. The country should be ready to absorb the increase of productive, young workers into the labour market and to ensure their readiness with relevant skills and competencies.

“The increase of IT-based employment during today’s digital and new normal era should be complemented with skillful workers. Thus, we need to start preparing these skillful workers with policy interventions that encourage and support the collaboration between the technical vocational educations and training and the industry,” said Tauvik.

The importance of skills development

We have approached the private sector, particularly during this pandemic era, to continue providing the transition programmes, such as the apprenticeship programme."

Siti Kustiati, Director of Apprenticeship of the Ministry of Manpower
Acknowledging the importance of skills development, the Ministry of Manpower has continued to optimize its e-training service, combining online and face-to-face training programme. This e-training service is expected to open a greater access to vocational training, strengthen the integration between workers’ competencies and the Employment Information System as well as increase the employability.

“We have approached the private sector, particularly during this pandemic era, to continue providing the transition programmes, such as the apprenticeship programme. We collaborate with the Jakarta Japan Club, USAID and HRD Association to encourage their company members to be part of the skills development programme,” said Siti Kustiati, Director of Apprenticeship of the Ministry of Manpower.

Meanwhile Wartanto, Director of Course and Training of the Ministry of Education and Culture, stated that the Ministry of Education is in the process of formulating new decree on apprenticeship programme. This new decree, for example, will oblige higher vocational education institutions to conduct an apprenticeship programme for a minimum of one semester (six months).

However, in terms of the quality of competency standard, this is managed and supervised by the Ministry of Education."

Wartanto, Director of Course and Training of the Ministry of Education and Culture
The Education Ministry has also strengthened its collaboration with the industries. Some changes have been made included a joint curriculum development with the industry, industrial-based certification ,  direct-learning programme in the industry, lecturers from industrial practitioners and, including, the absorption of the graduates by the industry.

“However, in terms of the quality of competency standard, this is managed and supervised by the Ministry of Education,” he added.

A greater engagement of industry


Supporting the greater engagement of industry in skills development programme, Dea Prasetyawati, Member of Indonesian Hotel and Restaurant Association (PHRI) for Human Resources, supported the active collaboration between the vocational education and the industry. Based on her experience as a practitioner HR, graduates of vocational education have lack of skills needed when entering the hotel industry. Most of them have lack of knowledge about the development of hotel industry and should be re-trained.

We also promote experiential learning through organic lab that allows students to improve their working skills by self-experiencing the real tasks and obligations of the world of work. Through this active collaboration, schools will be updated with new developments in the industry."

Dea Prasetyawati, Member of Indonesian Hotel and Restaurant Association (PHRI) for Human Resources
Therefore, some efforts have been taken by PHRI since 2014 to improve the quality of graduates of vocational schools. Some school to work transition programme that have been taken include internship and apprenticeship programmes, industry-based curriculum, guest lecturers, field trips and in the involvement of practitioners to improve their skills and employability.

“We also promote experiential learning through organic lab that allows students to improve their working skills by self-experiencing the real tasks and obligations of the world of work. Through this active collaboration, schools will be updated with new developments in the industry,” she said.

The discussion was conducted by the ILO through its Industry Skills for Inclusive Growth (In-Sight). Funded by the Government of Japan, the second phase of In-Sight Project aims to promote mechanisms and practical approaches that enable industries and workplaces to become drivers of sustainable and inclusive growth in the Asian region.