Developing core skills for life and work
The world of work is undergoing deep transformative changes driven by technological innovation, globalization, climate change and demographic shifts that are further accentuated by other crises such as the COVID-19 pandemic, and economic and geopolitical uncertainties.
By Sangheon Lee
The resulting changes are having a profound impact on the world of work, including skills mismatches on a large scale that require people to continuously reskill or upskill themselves to remain employable. Apart from changes to the technical skills required, there is a growing understanding of the importance of core skills such as social, emotional and cognitive skills, to strengthen the capacities of all people to be resilient, to flexibly adapt to changes and to pursue lifelong learning.
The conclusions on skills and lifelong learning of the 2022 International Labour Conference (ILC) highlighted that developing people’s core skills is important to enhance adaptability to changing work and life conditions, but also that societal needs for a sustainable future and thus the promotion of innovation and entrepreneurship are essential. In this context, core skills, are witnessing a paradigm shift in their nature: Technical skills needed in a digital and green economy are now being considered as core skills for all. Not surprisingly, the ILC discussion placed a renewed emphasis on a broad range of core skills for a brighter future of work.
The International Labour Organization (ILO) has, accordingly, developed a new global framework that defines core skills for life and work in the 21st century through the inclusion of four categories of skills: social and emotional, cognitive and metacognitive, basic digital and basic green skills. To serve existing needs, a digital toolkit is under development in cooperation with SFUVET, providing guidance to both policy makers and practitioners on the integration of core skills in national education and training systems, as well as on how to deliver, certify and recognize them. The dissemination of knowledge on core skills and future actions towards their development has the potential to support more and more people to benefit from the opportunities offered in a changing world of work, making sure that no one is left behind.
- Sangheon Lee, Director of the Employment Policy Department, International Labour Organization (ILO)