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.
Drawing on the insights that we have developed through the Future of Jobs Report, the Platform for Shaping the Future of the New Economy and Society has identified four key focus areas to accelerate the closing of global skills gaps:
1. Lifelong learning and upskilling
2. Future readiness and employability
3. Innovative skills funding models
4. Skills anticipation and job market insight
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.
To catalyse closing skills gaps, Accelerators focus on:
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 six countries and the goal is to expand the model to build a global network of 15 countries accelerating the closing of skills gaps by the end of 2020.
Currently the Closing the Skills Gap Accelerator in Oman is fully set up and an action plan is in place. Building on this portfolio of Arab states of the Persian Gulf, the United Arab Emirates announced their Accelerator in the summer of 2019. In South Asia, throughout 2018-2019 we have worked on setting up Closing the Skills Gap Accelerators in India and Pakistan, signaling that closing skills gaps is a key driver of inclusive growth in these large economies. Furthermore Closing the Skills Gaps Accelerators are set up in Argentina and South Africa.