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More Than Just Jobs

Workforce Development in a Skills-Based Economy

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"Job placement” has been the traditional goal of labour and employment policies, but this report argues otherwise. To stay competitive in a globalised economy, governments must also strive to enhance the skills of workers, increase their productivity and provide upward mobility to immigrants and the disadvantaged. This report provides valuable insights into how labour policies can be expanded to meet economic development and social cohesion goals, while also reconciling national and local concerns.   Studies from seven OECD countries are presented (Australia, France, Germany, Japan, Korea, the United Kingdom and the United States), each analysing attempts to expand workforce development policies and bridge the gap between national and local initiatives. Included are various types of government/private sector partnerships in the United States, regional training in France and Australia’s efforts to customise policies to local needs. Based on the country studies, the report then makes specific recommendations and suggestions on how workforce development policies can be expanded and improved.

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Australia: Local Employment Strategies that Address Diversity

Designing employment strategies is a complex issue in Australia, a vast continent with different labour market policy scenarios. One of the scenarios is found in the seven capital cities. These cities grow into extended metropolitan regions, where hubs of skills and knowledge-intensive activities coexist with suburbs of social disadvantage. Other scenarios are found outside these capital cities: in regional centres and remote communities. On the one hand are the booming, prosperous towns where there is a fierce demand for skilled workers, and on the other are the shrinking towns and declining regions, where simply retaining people is a major task for local agencies. These different scenarios indicate the challenges of applying centralised labour market policy instruments to areas with very different market and lifestyle conditions. They also show the important role of local knowledge relevant to local needs, and essential to the design of local employment strategies.

English

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