labour and employment ministries meetings and other events among governments


In Pittsburgh in 2009 G20 leaders pledged “to support robust training efforts in [their]
growth strategies and investments” in the context of a framework for strong, sustainable and balanced growth.
To that end, they called “on the ILO, in partnership with other organizations, to
convene its constituents and NGOs to develop a training strategy for [their] consideration”.1
The ILO has worked, in cooperation with other organizations, including the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and regional training
institutions, to develop a training strategy. Close consultations were held with representatives of business and labour, and with skills experts from G20 and other countries.

A preliminary version of the training strategy was submitted to the G20 Employment and Labour Ministers Meeting convened in Washington, DC in April 2010. At
their Summit in Toronto, the Leaders welcomed the G20 Training Strategy.
The training strategy has benefited from the viewpoints given by ministers as well
as further consultations with workers’ and employers’ representatives and international
organizations and experts.
Investing in workforce skills: a widely shared objective
All G20 countries have identified skills development as a strategic objective. All are
stepping up investments in skills. India adopted an ambitious National Skills Development Policy in 2009. South Africa is adjusting training strategies under the newly
created Ministry for Higher Education and Training.
The United Nations is committed to the Millennium Development Goal of achieving universal primary education: ensuring that, by 2015, children everywhere, 

1 This document has been prepared with substantial input from the OECD.
2 Formal consultations were held as follows: Meeting of Experts on Skills on Global Training Strategy, Turin,
15–17 March 2010, with participants from governments’, workers’ and employers’ institutions, universities and
think tanks; Upskilling out of the downturn: Global Dialogue Forum on Strategies for Sectoral Training and
Employment Security, Geneva, 29–30 March 2010; Seguimiento a la “Carta de Brasilia”: Estrategia de Formación
G20, Lima, 4–5 March 2010, organized by ILO/CINTERFOR (Inter-American Centre for Knowledge Development
in Vocational Training); special meeting of the Inter-Agency Group on TVET, Geneva, February 2010 (including
UNESCO, OECD, the World Bank, the European Training Foundation, and the Asian Development Bank).
4 A Skilled Workforce for Strong, Sustainable and Balanced Growth
and girls alike, are able to complete a full course of primary schooling. UNESCO, in
support of the Education for All campaign, recently adopted new guidelines on technical and vocational education and training.
In 2008, Government, Worker and Employer representatives at the International
Labour Conference adopted a set of conclusions on skills for improved productivity,
employment growth and development (ILO, 2008a).
The OECD has produced several major reports on vocational education and training and on school-to-work transitions (OECD, 2009; OECD, 2010a).
The European Commission has embarked on a New Skills for New Jobs Initiative
(EC, 2010).
The World Bank is preparing a new skills strategy geared towards employability
and productivity.
A broad definition of training and skills
Training and skills development is understood in broad terms, covering the full sequence
of life stages.
Basic education gives each individual a basis for the development of their potential, laying the foundation for employability.
Initial training provides the core work skills, general knowledge, and industrybased and professional competencies that facilitate the transition from education into
the world of work.
Lifelong learning maintains individuals’ skills and competencies as work, technology and skill requirements change.
Different countries focus on different elements as they see relative strengths and
weaknesses in their own skills development systems, and as they learn more about
innovations and experience in other countries.
Benefits from adequate investment in good-quality
education and skills
Skills development enhances both people’s capacities to work and their opportunities at

offering more scope for creativity and satisfaction at work.
The future prosperity of any country depends ultimately on the number of persons
in employment and how productive they are at work. A rich literature exists on the links
between education, skills, productivity and economic growth.
Estimates for European countries show that a 1 per cent increase in training days
leads to a 3 per cent increase in productivity, and that the share of overall productivity
growth attributable to training is around 16 per cent (CEDEFOP, 2007).
Available evidence firmly establishes that a combination of good education with
training that is of good quality and is relevant to the labour market
■ empowers people to develop their full capacities and to seize employment and
social opportunities;

 ■ raises productivity, both of workers and of enterprises;
Introduction 5
■ contributes to boosting future innovation and development;
■ encourages both domestic and foreign investment, and thus job growth, lowering
unemployment and underemployment;
■ leads to higher wages;
■ when broadly accessible, expands labour market opportunities and reduces social

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