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Skills for the future: Building bridges to new opportunities

Skills Summit 2024



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Belgium and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) organised the 5th OECD Skills Summit in Brussels on the 21st and 22nd of February 2024. This two-day event united ministers and senior officials from 38 OECD member countries and a number of non-member countries to share knowledge and delve into discussions on ‘Skills for the future – Building bridges to new opportunities.’

Skills for the future:
Building bridges to new opportunities

The 21st century has witnessed rapid technological, socio-economic and environmental changes. To take advantage of opportunities inherent in this change and to help build a better future, countries should strategically position themselves and strengthen their skills systems. Collaboration between different policy domains, education providers, employers and industries will be crucial.

two days,
three themes

While countries are adjusting to the digital and green transitions and other megatrends, they can and should also use this opportunity to consciously shape their own future. A clear vision is needed for the skills that will be strategically important for countries to achieve future ambitions. Building bridges across government, but also with stakeholders will be essential for developing such a vision.

Learning across the life course will allow people to develop the skills for the future and adapt skills sets to changing jobs and more diverse career pathways. To this end, countries will need to provide youth and adults with the required up- and re-skilling opportunities to strengthen skills sets and support career transitions throughout life. Building bridges between education and work, and between government and social partners, will be key to ensure that skills are developed in line with strategic skills needs.

To ensure that everyone can thrive in a rapidly changing world, countries should develop inclusive skills systems that support the people most vulnerable (e.g. young people from disadvantaged backgrounds, jobseekers, workers in jobs at risk of disappearing, etc.), to adapt to changes in the world of work. To reach these people and to provide them with the required support, countries should build bridges between governments and the actors who work most directly with them.

“Higher skills levels are associated with better labour market outcomes, better health and wellbeing, and higher civic and social engagement. The 2024 Skills Summit will be an important opportunity to discuss how policymakers can better align education and skills training with the skills needed in the labour market, and help workers navigate the significant impacts of the digital and green transformations, in building strong, fair and sustainable economies and societies.”

Mathias Cormann, OECD Secretary-General