Executive summary

Throughout OECD countries, there is growing recognition that adult learning systems will be increasingly important to cope with ongoing structural changes in the labour market. Some sectors and occupations are declining, others are emerging and almost all jobs now require different skill sets than they used to. Given that a large share of the people affected have already left initial education, adult learning will play a fundamental role in ensuring a smooth reallocation of labour so as to minimise skill imbalances.

In Brazil, rapid population ageing is the most pressing factor at the moment. In fact, the speed of population ageing is projected to be significantly faster than what has been experienced by most developed economies. As a consequence, shortages of personal care workers and health professionals are already emerging. In addition, recent efforts to promote the participation of domestic firms into international trade and to foster the adoption of digital technologies will lead to stronger skill imbalances in the coming decades. Brazilian policy makers have a window of opportunity to anticipate these changes and future-ready their adult learning system.

Several initiatives have already been implemented to develop the Brazilian vocational education system and to promote adult training in the form of short and free-form technical courses. The Federal programme PRONATEC, launched in 2011, represented a substantial public investment in adult training. Nonetheless, further efforts are needed to develop an inclusive and effective adult learning system.

The OECD recommends that policy makers in Brazil:

  • Develop a government-led Skill Assessment and Anticipation (SAA) system and devote resources to conduct systematic and regular SAA analyses. The development of SAA exercises is fundamental to improve the alignment of education and training policy with labour market needs.

  • Promote regional-specific and sector-specific SAA exercises that can facilitate more targeted policy making. To minimise the costs, these could be carried out for two or three sectors and regions each year, following a rotating structure. Collaboration between the government and other stakeholders, as well as between different municipalities, is strongly advised.

  • Merge the on-line platforms developed by different ministries to disseminate SAA information in a single interactive web portal that aggregates all functionalities and targets a wider audience.

  • Develop restricted catalogues of subsidised training courses that strictly respond to labour market needs. These catalogues should be specific to each region and developed based on rigorous SAA analyses.

  • Preserve the inter-ministerial collaboration established with the PRONATEC programme to identify individuals eligible for free training provision and financial help.

  • Implement a training voucher system to let selected individuals choose their training course out of their regional-specific catalogue. The implementation of such training voucher system should be accompanied with the development of public career guidance services.

  • Establish a list of requirements to be met by training providers authorised to offer subsidised training courses. Implement regular inspections to training providers so as to enforce compliance with these requirements.

  • Simplify public hiring procedures so that public training providers can quickly adapt their training offer to frequently changing labour market needs.

  • Adapt financial help to training participants to their economic and social background. Similarly, public funds transferred to training providers should be differentiated across regions and type of training institution, as well as based on the specific training courses offered.

  • Expand the “Rede CERTIFIC” programme to recognise prior learning acquired informally.

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