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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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France: Bridging Regional Training and Local Employment

In France, as in many other countries, devolution of labour market policy and training has been a continuous trend. During the past 20 years, statutory decisions and financing regulations intervened to give greater weight to the interventions of regional and local actors and to increase their level of responsibility in training and employment. But the French experience differs from that in other countries on a very specific point: the devolution of training policies there did not coincide with devolution of employment and labour market policies. The levels of responsibility do not correspond, since the former was organised on a regional level and the latter on a departmental or municipal level. The advantage of these differences is that the regional perspective widens the local prospects so as not to define in too narrow a way the needs for training of the workers – thus supporting their chances of later adaptation and mobility. Disadvantages include a top-heavy administration with overlapping and rather high organisational costs.

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