2019 Pacific Skills Summit - Plenary Session 2: The State of Skills Development in the Pacific
Against this backdrop, the second plenary will focus on the current state of skills development in the Pacific Region. Most of the world’s education systems are based on models put in place decades ago. Developing skills for achieving sustainable livelihoods in the region remains a work in progress, demanding new skills sets and labour needs, particularly as new industries/innovation continue to emerge. Deliberating on the state of skills development in the Pacific poses key questions relating to, the impact of technological change on the demand for and supply of skills, and the extent to which stakeholders ranging from policy makers through to training providers and industry have been able to respond. Pacific Island Countries have over the years invested in national human resource development strategies; incentivised private sector development; established national qualifications regulatory bodies and mainstreamed technical and vocational education and training (TVET), as a way to address and better understand the transforming nature of the demand for and supply of skills, and the resulting skills shortages and mismatches in the Pacific.
Against this promising backdrop, youth unemployment remains particularly acute in Smaller Island States like Kiribati, Nauru, RMI and Tuvalu with youth unemployment sitting over 50%, exacerbated by low economic growth, high population growth and skills mismatches. Addressing gender gaps in the labour force, decent work deficits, labour market underutilisation amongst women, regional labour market challenges, inclusive and sustainable economic growth and productive employment for all, remain policy and political priorities within the region, despite gradual progress made in addressing these areas.
The World Bank and World Economic Forum acknowledges that the changing nature of work globally and regionally calls for a new focus of a more “human-centred agenda”. The 2019 Global Commission on the Future of Work also states “We propose a human-centred agenda for the future of work that strengthens the social contract by placing people and the work they do at the centre of economic and social policy and business practice.” The report further recommends the need to “Stepping up investments in the institutions, policies and strategies that will support people through future of work transitions. This session will explore the current state of skills development in the Pacific and what strategies we need to improve it in the face of the changing nature of work.