How do workers’ organizations engage in skills development


How do workers’ organizations
engage in skills development
and lifelong learning?
Workers’ organizations are engaged in a variety of different activities at national, sectoral and
enterprise levels to support policy formulation and implementation, through contributing
to national strategies, negotiating collective agreements and participating in regulatory
and/or consultative bodies.
Workers’ organizations support skills development and lifelong learning in the following ways:
X advising on skills anticipation for initial and continuing training;

 X advising on training standards, curricula, training programmes and assessment procedures
for initial training;
X negotiating pay rates, paid time off and entitlement to training;
X providing guidance and motivation for continuing training;
X supporting links with local training providers for continuing training; and
X supporting recruitment for initial training. (Trade Union Advisory Committee, 2016)
International Labour Standards (ILS) highlight the need to involve workers' organizations
in these activities and to strengthen social dialogue and collective bargaining in this field
(see Chapter 5).
X National level
Tripartite training strategies
Formal tripartite training strategies that deal with skills issues are rare, but they are powerful
in that they enable workers’ organizations to play a direct role in policy formulation. A
notable example would be the South African “National Skills Accord”, which committed
all social partners to combine their “efforts in order to strengthen skills development as a
crucial pillar of the New Growth path” (see Box 2.1). 

14 Skills Development and Lifelong Learning – Resource Guide for Workers’ Organizations
Box 2.1
Tripartite strategies for skills development and
lifelong learning – South Africa
In South Africa, three trade union confederations signed a tripartite agreement
in 2011 with an employers’ association and the Ministry of Higher Education
and Training, committing all social partners to combining their “efforts in order
to strengthen skills development as a crucial pillar of the New Growth path”.
Stakeholders committed to training craftspersons and holders of other scarce
skills, contributing to the placement of further education graduates in workplace
learning, improving the quality of skills planning and focusing on the performance
of sectoral skills councils.
National regulatory and/or consultative bodies
Engagement in national regulatory and/or consultative bodies provides workers’
organizations with a clear opportunity to formulate and implement skills development and
lifelong learning policies.
For example,

 in Asia workers’ organizations are represented in the Philippines on the board
of the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (Box 2.2), and in Bangladesh on
the National Skills Development Council, whose role is to oversee and monitor all activities
of public and private training providers related to skills training.

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