Skilling, upskilling and reskilling of employees, apprentices & interns during the COVID-19 pandemic (2021)
This survey report represents the collaborative efforts of ten development partners (UNESCO, European Commission, Internation Labour Organisation, Asian Development Bank, ETF, Word Bank, African Development Bank, GAN Global, CEDEFOP, OECD) in an attempt to shed light on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the training and development of employees, apprentices, interns and trainees from the perspective of enterprises and organizations.
Given the widespread suspension of operations and the consequent interruption of training and development activities, the survey findings paint a gloomy picture of the stagnation of skills development activities. Yet at the same time, enterprises and organizations around the world have demonstrated their ability to improvise and innovate, and the many good practices and innovative solutions undertaken by them to mitigate the impact of the pandemic have been captured in this report. As the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated changes in the demand for skills and raised the possibility of structural shifts in labour markets around the world, there is an urgent need for quality training to support a robust economic recovery. Without remediation, there is a risk of leaving behind a “COVID-19 generation” of current and future workers with lower earnings and lower quality jobs over their lifetime.
In order to enhance the agility and resilience of societies to deal with the challenges posed by the pandemic and crises in the future, governments have a crucial responsibility in ensuring the continuation of training and development at workplaces, as well as improving the effectiveness of skills development and lifelong learning systems. An effective skills development system depends on close coordination between governments, social partners, the private sector, and education or training providers. In particular, engaging employers in the roll-out of new training programmes and updating the curriculum and delivery of existing programmes is crucial to enhance the responsiveness of formal TVET and work-based learning programmes to labour market needs.
Based on the lessons learned from the survey findings, this report proposes a range of policy recommendations to address the immediate impact of the pandemic, to ensure rapid recovery after the crisis, and to build skills development systems capable of adapting to labour market transformations in the long-run. This global health crisis calls for the engagement of and partnerships between stakeholders at all levels, including international and regional development organizations, governments, social partners, public and private enterprises, education and training institutions, as well as learners and workers from all walks of life.
This inter-agency survey illustrates the international collaboration that is needed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. It is hoped that this joint initiative will serve as a knowledge base and impetus for promoting more international cooperation and knowledge exchange in this area, to generate innovative solutions for addressing the impact of COVID19 on training at workplaces, and for building effective and resilient skills development systems.