Closing the global skills gap could add US$11.5 trillion to global GDP by 2028. Education and training systems need to keep pace with the new demands of labor markets that are continually challenged by technological disruption, demographic change and the evolving nature of work.
Governments are under increasing pressure to find solutions, including by involving the private sector in areas where changes are required. Few governments, however, are able to act rapidly and collaborate with private sector actors to reform education and training systems. On the other hand, businesses are initiating their own programmes aimed at skilling, upskilling and reskilling their workforces (and more broadly, communities), although few are able to effect systemic change alone.
The new context:
The COVID-19 economic shock has made the skills gap broader and the need to close it more urgent. This calls for new investments and mechanisms for upskilling and reskilling, for both deeply human skills as well as digital skills. While the online education and training industry has seen a surge in interest from digitally connected workers in lockdown, it is critical that employers double down on retraining workers and that governments proactively build provisions around upskilling and reskilling into the massive fiscal stimulus they are injecting into economies to best prepare workers for the post-pandemic economy.
The need for a Reskilling Revolution:
Announced at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting at Davos in January 2020, the Reskilling Revolution aims to provide better jobs, education and skills to 1 billion people in the next 10 years to contribute to future-proofing countries, companies and workers. It will offer a space for collaboration between business, government, and civil society to build a fairer, more inclusive world that will deliver benefits to economy and society for generations to come. The flagship initiative within the Reskilling Revolution is the Closing the Skills Gap Accelerator Model.
The Closing the Skills Gap Accelerator Model:
The Closing the Skills Gap Accelerators aim to create global and national public-private collaboration platforms to address skills gaps and to reshape education and training for the future. The accelerator model drives systems change, highlighting the need for collaborative action across different scales – not just institutional structures and policies but also norms, attitudes and through individual business commitments. This is done through a focus on four key areas for closing the global skills gaps:
1. Lifelong learning and upskilling
2. Proactive redeployment and re-employment
3. Innovative skills funding models
4. Skills anticipation and job market insight
The Accelerator model includes:
* National Level Action: The accelerator model brings together public and private sector leaders, generally Ministers and CEO's, to generate local insight, develop local needs-based action plans and drive their execution.
* Global Learning Network: Each country accelerator along with champion countries are part of a global platform, to enable the acceleration of learning through the exchange of insights and experience.
* Closing the Skills Gap Playbook: The Playbook looks to provide a guide for stakeholders with tools, resources and processes for action to close skills gaps and prepare for the Future of Work. It is a living document which is continuously updated with the learnings from the Global Accelerator Network and the work done by the rest of the Platform for Shaping the Future of the New Economy and Society.
Closing the Skills Gap Accelerators are currently established in ten (10) countries, with a goal to expand the model to build a global network of 15 countries accelerating the closing of skills gaps by the end of 2021.