Education and human resource development leaders and experts from 21 APEC member economies are pushing for more coordinated digital and environmental training and education across the region to prepare people, especially young people, for jobs of tomorrow.
Employment in the service sector, industry (including manufacturing and construction), as well as agriculture has been estimated to have decreased by 1.5%, 5.7% and 2.6% respectively in 2020. Job losses due to COVID-19 have particularly affected the younger generation, with a decline of 8.7% youth employment in 2020.
“APEC’s success is not just about trade and investment; success for APEC should include improved and robust human resource development, including education, capacity building, and social and labor protection,” said Professor Dong Sun Park, Senior Shepherd of the APEC Human Resource Development Working Group.
The group has identified the trends shaping the future of work since 2020 and this year shifted its policy focus to building smart citizens through digitalization and raising awareness of environmental stewardship. This change aligns with The Putrajaya vision of APEC in which new economic drivers have been defined for the next 20 years.
“Technology and the environment will be the main economic drivers in the post-pandemic world. We need to ensure that our staff, especially the younger generation, are fully equipped with the skills and competencies of tomorrow,” added Professor Park.
At their four-day meeting in Bangkok, the Human Resources Working Group outlined strategies and policy actions to improve APEC’s education agenda. This included cross-border education and academic mobility, qualifications frameworks, skills recognition and technical and vocational education and training, innovation in education, as well as 21st skills of the century and the structural reform of education, among many others.
Promoting strong, flexible, inclusive and resilient labor markets is also important to securing jobs, especially in a rapidly changing work environment. Policies covering labor mobility, as well as expanding social protection and safety nets will become even more crucial for future jobs. These policies would extend to women, young people and people with disabilities.
The meeting also heard from a youth representative from Chulalongkorn University who recommended that APEC further advance school curricula, engage scientists and experts in curriculum design, mandate youth advisory committees to policy-making and strengthens practical measures on sustainability.
“Human resource development has become an increasingly important part of APEC to promote the well-being of our people and achieve sustainable and inclusive economic growth in the region,” said Duriya Amatavivat, co-chair of the group. APEC Human Resources Development Working Group.
Duriya, who is also a senior adviser in the office of the permanent secretary of Thailand’s Ministry of Education, reiterated Thailand’s commitment to promoting skills development for empowerment and employability, as well as facilitating a transition smoothly towards a digital, green and sustainable economy. companies.
“It can help us advance global efforts to address all environmental challenges including climate change, extreme weather and natural disasters for a sustainable future,” she said.
By focusing on digitalization and the environment, member economies can empower learners to adapt and stay employed, as well as foster innovation to generate sustainable and inclusive growth.