Local Government, Global Marketplace

A female in a headscarf is holding and looking at a globe with illustrations of the different flags of many countries.
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As many as 375 million workers — or roughly 14 percent of the global workforce — may need to switch occupational categories by 2030 as digitization, automation, and advances in artificial intelligence disrupt the world of work. In reality however, hiring fresh talent in response to skill obsolescence can also be expensive, and layoffs can incur millions of dollars in severance and restructuring costs.

This is especially true in tight labor markets where the supply of skills like cloud computing, cybersecurity and data science is far outstripped by the immense demand for them. Compounding the issue by terminating workers with outdated skills removes an employee from the workspace, and severely affects the individuals who loses their livelihood as a result. The OECD quote describes where we are:

‘The future, by definition, is unpredictable; but by being attuned to some of the trends now sweeping across the world… we can learn to adapt, to thrive, and even shape what the future holds’. (OECD, Future of Education and Skills 2030, 2019.)

It seems that local governments and existing training facilities are unsustainable and are having difficulty meeting the multiple needs of 21st century learners. Research in multiple industries including healthcare, management training, business development, government and private training in Australia, Canada, the E.U. and the U.S.A. show that these countries need to reposition themselves to keep pace with modern training methods.

Policies focusing on creating an adaptable workforce that harnesses, encourages and supports technological skills and competencies will lead to employees who have better productivity and employment rates. This will affect individual country labour markets in a positive way. In contrast, if the local government does not keep abreast with its neighbours, this will highlight concerns for future structural problems. It may sound obvious in principle, but translating this into viable policies that are put into action is a different matter.

Think of your country or geographic area and consider this mini reflection:

  • How did they react technologically in the pandemic?
  • What happened to learners in schools?
  • How were the workers supported and resourced technologically?
  • What are these countries doing now to close these gaps?

Here in Canada, a decade ago, 70% of the public sector would exit after around 7 years of employment. This was pegged to the issues discussed in this article around government adult education and training. ‘CBT was then basically viewed as an instrument that promoted innovation, empowering individuals, challenge creativity, value contribution, manage the local government workload issues and resources while staying focused on a principal mission of delivering to their public’s expectations at a global elegance.’

Statistics Canada research based on labour market impacts of adult education and training considers variables such as the amount of formal schooling obtained, learning by doing, geographic differences in labour market conditions and immigrant status indicators such as language skill, educational quality or discrimination. This gives us clues on how the effects of training for the labourer, worker, employee. Employer training has the most positive impact, then comes government-financed training which has modest to large negative impacts. The impact of self-financed training varies, depending on the estimator in question for men, while having small but consistently positive impacts for women.

Studies in Europe reflect a similar position; that employer CBT aligns more closely with tangible results, while government-sponsored reskilling seems to be hit-and-miss or more often, miles off the target. So the existing training models are unsustainable, and are not preparing a workforce with the flexibility, digital skills or employee adaptability that the 21st century demands.

The incredible surge in workplace CBT that was on the rise even before Covid shows that the responsibilities of this training is going to be taken by the company. You can read more about this in my next article here and if you’d like the complete reference list for the articles, you can find it here.

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Quinten Sheriff

Quinten Sheriff

global citizen, educator with experience on 4 continents & 6 countries — instructional technology — human performance design — curriculum development — etc