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ILO Forum broadens knowledge and awareness on the role of skills development in promoting trade, employability and inclusive growth

SIEM REAP, Cambodia. 31 May 2017 – An inter-regional forum concluded here today following two days of intense discussion that have broadened knowledge and awareness among a wide spectrum of stakeholders from different countries on skills development strategies for promoting trade, employability and inclusive growth in the developing world.

Representatives from governments, workers’ and employers’ organizations, the private sector and development partners agreed that the forum had provided a unique opportunity to share experiences, knowledge and lessons learned that highlighted the challenges and potential for skills development to reap the benefits of trade and promote inclusive growth.

In concluding remarks, Olga Strietska-Ilina, ILO Skills Policies and Systems Specialist, said the Forum had been “very useful from the point of view of regional perspectives, the side of employers, the side of workers, international organizations, and development partners. Everyone agrees we need to institutionalize to help the private sector and the world of training work together.”

The Inter-regional Technical Forum on Skills for Trade, Employability and Inclusive Growth was organized within the framework of the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA) funded “Scaling up Skills for Trade and Economic Diversification (STED)” project and the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) funded “Skills for Employment and Productivity in Low-Income countries” project.

Speaking in behalf of SIDA, Magnus Saemundsson, First Secretary of the Embassy of Sweden in Cambodia noted that the discussions had highlighted the “many similarities” in experiences, while at the same time exposing the challenges of skills development systems in various countries and sectors.

“An issue related to these challenges is the difficulties of engaging not only of stakeholders, but different ministries’ and parts of ministries to cooperate,” he said.

The representative of KOICA, Hyungkyoo Kim, Country Director of the KOICA Office in Nepal, said: “There are two words on my mind after observing this two day forum. One is outcomes … more decent work, more jobs to the people, poor people that are excluded. Another word is reality: each country has their own situation. We should consider the reality of these countries, so we need to tailor the approach to the problems in these countries.”

Ms. Strietska-Ilina of the ILO said the Forum could be summarized by five key themes: targeting of disadvantaged groups, including women, people with disabilities, young people and aging workers and developing appropriate strategies for them; systematizing, or making sure there are forward looking approaches and active labour market policy measures; synergizing between different policies, including sectoral, industrial and national policies, and skills development strategies; creating institutional platforms for the private sector, education, training and collecting labour market information; and incentivising the private sector to take part in the provision of vocational training and hands on experience for the youth people.

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