7.4 Connect to Policy and Take a Systemic Approach

In December 2011, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) hosted “Skills for Inclusive and Sustainable Growth in Developing Asia-Pacific: An International Consultative Forum,” as part of the regional technical assistance project, Education and Skills for Inclusive Growth and Green Jobs.  The forum brought together more than 50 leading experts in the area of skills, training, and workforce development “to strengthen the link between policy and practice and to enable interactions between researchers, practitioners, developing country representatives, and the private sector in the area of skills development for employability.” For additional information, visit: http://www.adb.org/news/events/skills-inclusive-and-sustainable-growth-developing-asia-pacific.

The resulting research brief found that jobs and skills are pressing development challenges, requiring not just “up-skilling” but also “right-skilling” to address labor market mismatches (http://www.adb.org/sites/default/files/pub/2012/sustainable-growth-asia-...). This requires aligning skills training policies with economic and industrial policies, and ensuring industry-led systems for skills training are supported by a conducive regulatory framework. Also important is developing supporting qualification frameworks and quality assurance systems. Specific recommendations for strengthening the skills and workforce development system include increasing the prestige of skills training and rebranding technical vocational education and training (TVET), strengthening foundational skills and direct measurement of skills, mainstreaming soft skills into TVET for improved productivity, and integrating employment services into skills training. This process also resulted in an “Emerging Framework” for ADB Support for Strengthening Policies and Practices in Skills Development, which is presented in the graphic below in its entirety.