On 25th January, the ILO project ‘Quality Apprenticeship and Lifelong Learning in China’ successfully organized Core Skill Development Training Workshop online. Over 120 participants from 71 pilot enterprises, TVET institutions and public agencies attended training to gain in-depth knowledge of ILO Global Framework on Core Skills for the 21st Century and practices of core skill development. The workshop aimed to: 1. share relevant policies in lifelong vocational training and practices of general skill development in China; 2. introduce the ILO Global Framework on Core Skills and country case studies of core skill development.
In the opening remarks, Director-General of International Cooperation Department, Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security (MOHRSS) of PRC Mr. Bin Hao appreciated the substantial project progress in times of COVID-19 and reaffirmed the significance of skill development and apprenticeship in China. He said that the project’s efforts are positively in line with the National 14th Five-Year Plan to enhance skilled workforce and improve youth employability. Mr. Hao encouraged all participants to learn advanced global exemplars and share Chinese experience. Mr. Feng Tian, Director of Department of Vocational Capacity Building, MOHRSS provided a comprehensive introduction to relevant policies and national schemes of skill development, including the establishment of lifelong vocational training nationwide, National Vocational Skill Development Action Plan (2019-2021) and China New Apprenticeship Program. Mr. Tian underscored the fundamental principle is to promote inclusive, equal and demand-driven vocational training in China.
Representatives from pilot enterprises and TVET institutions shared their experience in general skill (core skills) development in China. China Southwest Aluminium Group CO.,Ltd. in Chongqing presented how the company integrated general skill training into its apprenticeship program. The company conducted survey to identify problems and demands in work among employees. Based on results, it developed courses of career planning, stress and emotion management, communication, time management, logical thinking and so forth. During COVID-19 period, the company used social media like WeChat official account and live-streaming online courses to keep employees’ learning momentum. Changxing Technician College in Huzhou provided some best practices from a training provider’s perspective, such as the categorization of general skill courses, 334 integrated assessment method and enterprise-targeted training plan development.
Then ILO experts delivered 2 training sessions to introduce what core skills are and how core skill development can be implemented. Mr. Ashwani Aggarwal, ILO Quality Apprenticeship Global Team Leader and Senior Specialist of Skills and Employability illustrated survey data to show the increasing importance of core skills worldwide. He further explained the concept of core skills by presenting a new ILO Global Framework on Core Skills for the 21st Century which will be soon finalized. Highlighting the ‘non-technical’ and ‘transferable’ features, Mr. Aggarwal provided a well-rounded introduction to 4 categories of core skills encompassing social and emotional skills, cognitive skills, basic digital skills and basic skills for green jobs. Mr. Paul Comyn, Senior Skills and Employability Specialist pointed out different challenges practitioners may face in the implementation of core skill development. He presented a 6-step circle, from the initial identification of core skills for employability in a country context to monitoring and impact assessment. Specifically, he provided cases from Malaysia, EU, Singapore, Australia and Chile to explain in detail how to well integrate core skill learning into the existing vocational training.
The Core Skill Development Training Workshop constitutes an important part of a series of capacity building activities in ‘Quality Apprenticeship and Lifelong Learning in China’ local piloting. Now a total of 71 pilot units, including enterprises, TVET institutions and local authorities/management units from 4 municipalities (Chongqing, Huzhou, Rizhao, Tianjin) and 1 large sector China National Petroleum Corporation are actively involved in mutual learning and knowledge exchange.