The Closing the Skills Gap Country Accelerators are public-private collaboration platforms to accelerate initiatives that can drive systems change and prepare countries for the future of work. In addition to reskilling and upskilling, COVID-19 spurred countries to increase efforts on active labour market policy and strategies for proactive redeployment and re-employment of workers.
The model for action
The Accelerators focus on four key areas to close national skills gaps:
- Lifelong learning and upskilling
- Proactive redeployment and re-employment
- Innovative skills funding models
- Skills anticipation and job market insight
Country Accelerators are governed by a leadership group consisting of public and private sector leaders in each country. In total, 17 Ministers and 20 CEOs are engaged today as Co-Chairs of the accelerators, supported by a local coordinator in each country. Depending on the maturity of the accelerator a larger number of local companies are engaged in the working groups of the accelerators.
The Global Learning Network brings together all accelerator countries and knowledge partners on a quarterly basis to build on the power of peer-to-peer learning, share knowledge, lessons learned and practical implementation challenges and solutions, as well as provide updates on the latest skills and labour market trends. In 2020, the first of these roundtables focused on the strategies to navigate the impact of COVID-19, where countries shared plans regarding reskilling and redeployment efforts. The second focused on the manner in which the pandemic has fundamentally shifted the skills narrative (i.e. regarding gender and the role of the private sector), as well as introducing accelerators countries to synergies with other workstreams under the Reskilling Revolution umbrella. The third was an opportunity to exchange with some of the members of the Skills Consortium on how to best design a universal skills taxonomy.
A community of regional leaders taking action today
"Developing talent and the skillsets to effectively meet the dynamic workforce requirements of the future needs active participation from global enterprises, both in terms of investments in continual learning opportunities and collaboration with governments and educational institutions. I am excited that this taskforce will help bridge the skill gap and broaden the opportunity horizon for reskilled talent, while accelerating competitiveness for Indian companies. "Salil Parekh
Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director of Infosys
Co-Chair of the India Task Force
"The Sultanate of Oman is at the center of an increasingly digitalised global village, with an ever-growing reliance on advanced technologies. Our proficiency with such technologies and processes will help us diversify our economy, attract new investments and increase our productivity, easing our way towards achieving the goals envisioned in our National Vision 2040. At the heart of this is our human capital. Through ‘Oman’s Future of Skills accelerator’ we are enabling a national workforce equipped with world-class, future-proof skills and attitudes that shall underpin the delivery of greater economic and social value for generations to come. "Ali Al Sunaidy
Minister of Commerce and Industry and Deputy Chairman of the Supreme Council for Planning of Oman
"60 percent of Pakistanis are below the age of 30: this is the real strength of Pakistan. Unfortunately, we have neglected this young population because we did not concentrate on skill development, on equipping them to employ themselves, become entrepreneurs or work within existing industries. But now we have started a program for skill development, partnering with the World Economic Forum. "Imran Khan
Prime Minister of Pakistan
"I wish that more people, companies and societies would start to invest in skills, reskilling and lifelong learning. Because if we don’t, it will not only hamper businesses and the foundation for our economies. It could undermine our entire societal contract. "Peter Hummelgaard
Minister for Employment of Denmark
"There has never been a more urgent need to convene a platform that brings together global leaders and CEOs to advance skills development. The Covid-19 pandemic has made remote work the ‘new normal’ in the workplace and that trend is set to become the mainstay of office work in the future, requiring new skills from employees globally. The Accelerator Network will enable employees around the world to meet the skills and talent demands of a world that is forever changed. The UAE will continue to be at the vanguard of driving the skills agenda, recognising recognising its importance to the country’s sustainable development. "Ahmad Belhoul Al Falasi
Minister of State for Higher Education and Advanced Skills in the UAE
Ten countries are currently implementing the Accelerators: Bahrain, Brazil, Georgia, Greece, India, Oman, Pakistan, South Africa, Turkey, and the United Arab Emirates. Three countries are involved as knowledge partners: Singapore, Switzerland, and Denmark. The Forum is in conversation with additional countries to join the programme in 2021.
Established at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos-Klosters in January 2020 in collaboration with the Economic Development Board of Bahrain (EDB), the Bahrain Closing the Skills Gap Accelerator is being embedded into Skills Bahrain, a new industry-led agency that will be set up in 2021. Skills Bahrain will focus on the development of Occupational standards across key sectors, the development of a national apprenticeship scheme, and the oversight of Bahrain’s incipient Labour Market Intelligence unit. The Accelerator is being Co-Chaired by the Minister of Youth and Sports and the CEOs of leading companies across different sectors.
At the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos-Klosters in January 2020, the Forum and the Secretariat of Productivity, Employment and Competitiveness of the Ministry of Economy of Brazil agreed to work together to close skills gap in the country and upskill the current workforce, with a focus on low-skilled and fragile workers. The Accelerator is co-chaired by the Deputy Ministers of Economy and Education and will build on flagship reskilling initiatives in the country, including Emprega+ which aims to offer professional qualification courses according to the demands of the job market, strengthen apprenticeship programmes and the National Employment System for the placement of workers.
The Ministry of Education, Science, Culture and Sports of Georgia launched the Closing the Skills Gap Accelerator in Georgia in 2020. The Accelerator will be embedded into Skills Georgia, the new agency that the Ministry is established in collaboration with the private sector and that will aim to better young Georgian graduates with the skills that they will need in the future of work, particularly in Georgia’s strategic sectors: tourism and hospitality services, engineering and construction, transport and logistics, and agriculture.
The Greece Closing the Skills Gap Accelerator is a collaboration between the World Economic Forum and ReGeneration, a civil society organization that aims to provide better employment opportunity for young Greek graduates. The Accelerator is Co-Chaired by the Minister for Development and Investment and is currently on-boarding its full governance group. It can count on several initiatives developed by ReGeneration over the past year, including with partnerships with Microsoft, Coursera and others.
A collaboration with the National Skills Development Corporation, India’s Closing the Skills Gap Accelerator was launched in October 2018. The leadership group has agreed to focus on five key objectives: (1) commit to providing the workforce with broad-based access to training, reskilling and upskilling opportunities; (2) partner with EdTech platforms on skills accreditation and align micro-credentials with national standards and qualification frameworks; (3) explore opportunities to introduce apprenticeships into “non-traditional” sectors; (4) support the creation of skills training bonds and individual learning accounts at a company and national level; and (5) pilot the set-up of a big data driven labour market information tool for India.
Launched in January 2019, Oman’s Closing the Skills Gap Accelerator is setting up three thematic public-private initiatives and a number of sector-level public-private roundtables to improve alignment between skills and jobs, focusing specifically on: (1) strengthening soft skills among children and youth (e.g. adaptability, creativity, communication, teamwork, etc.); (2) enhancing basic digital know-how among children and youth (e.g. basic coding, media literacy, interpreting data, etc.); and (3) improving relevant job-specific skills (e.g. technical and industry- or job-relevant skills). The Supreme Council of Planning is coordinating the initiative.
Kicked-off in July 2019 in collaboration with the Punjab Skills Development Fund, the Closing the Skills Gap Accelerator has engaged more than 30 of the largest employers in Pakistan. Representing the country’s leading industries, these companies are mapping sector-level emerging and declining roles and the skillset associated with them. They will then create and support sectoral, public-private incubators to create an adequate pipeline of talent for Pakistan’s future of work. Over the next 3 years, the Accelerator aims to engage 200 large companies and 300 SMEs across the 10 selected priority sectors, representing approximately 3 million workers.
The Department of Trade, Industry and Competition of South Africa committed to join the Closing the Skills Gap Accelerator at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos-Klosters in January 2020. The Forum will work together with the relevant counterparts to prepare the workforce for the changes that the COVID-19 pandemic will bring to the economy and start the changes necessary to make the current green and technological transitions more inclusive.
The Turkey Closing the Skills Gap Accelerator is a join initiative of the Ministry of Industry and Technology, Ministry of National Education, Ministry of Family, Labour and Social Services of Turkey. Launched in October 2020, the Accelerator is currently establishing its governance structure, including the local coordinator, the private sector Co-Chairs and representatives from civil society and international organizations.
United Arab Emirates
Launched in November 2019, the United Arab Emirates Closing the Skills Gap Accelerator brings together the leading Emirati and international businesses active in the country with the coordination of the Ministry of State for Higher Education and Advanced Skills. The Accelerator is built around two main pillars: (1) the creation of national and international platforms to highlight skills gap and formulate new business models and practical tools to steer education and training in line with future changes; (2) collaboration between the government and private sectors, as well as civil society and education and training institutions in the UAE, to establish a comprehensive vision to close the skills gap in the country.