Virtual workshops for the harmonization of occupational standards in the agriculture and construction sectors in Ghana, Nigeria and Togo

The ILO's Skills and Employability Branch, under its SKILL-UP project and in collaboration with the "Support to Free Movement of Persons and Migration in West Africa" (FMM) project, organized tripartite online consultations as part of a skills partnership on migration concluded between Ghana, Nigeria and Togo.

Constituents from Ghana, Nigeria and Togo participated to initiate a pilot process for the harmonization of occupational standards as part of a skills partnership on migration  concluded between the three countries.

The event was initially designed to take place as a traditional face-to-face workshop but was held virtually in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. This innovative and cost-efficient approach led to engaging discussions between the participants, exchange of information, and trust-building between the constituents of the three countries.

A tripartite working group was formed before the consultation to conduct a needs assessment, select priority occupations, and facilitate access to existing occupational and training standards.
To enable the working group to propose guidelines for the harmonization of the selected skills standards, an expert reviewed and compared selected available standards that were then discussed during the workshops. A comparative mapping of national qualification systems was also conducted before the workshops.

A second expert facilitated the online exchanges of the technical working group in November and December 2020, to determine concrete steps for the recognition and harmonization of skills and qualification through proposed joint minimum standards.

In response to constituents' demand, two sectors of intervention were chosen: agriculture and construction. The process focused on three occupations with developed standards in all three countries: masonry, plumbing and poultry rearing.

Recognizing that low- and semi-skilled migrants face constraints that hinder their mobility and skills utilization in regional labour markets, skills partnerships could allow for better integration of migrant workers in the workforce, and boost the confidence of employers in hiring migrant workers. It could also help share the benefits of migration between the countries in the sub-region.