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THE SECTOR VIEW: BRITISH COUNCIL


EDUCATION SYSTEMS MUST MATCH SKILLS TO FUTURE NEEDS, SAYS CHRIS COOPER OF THE BRITISH COUNCIL


SMART SKILLS


SMART CITIES AND SMART EDUCATION SYSTEMS Smart cities must develop and manage their human resources to be able to achieve both growth and stability. Tis requires them to have smart education systems that can match the skills of their population to the current and future needs of industry and can give citizens the opportunity to contribute to that economic growth. Developing such education systems is a


significant challenge and is something that cannot be addressed by city regions in isolation. Education systems need to be nationally coherent, and social partners such as employers, government, employees and civil society organisations must work together at both the national and local levels to find sustainable solutions.


A GLOBAL SKILLS SHORTAGE Employers are consistently raising the issue of a skills shortage. Tis ever-growing ‘skills gap’ – the disparity between the skills employers need and the skills people have – is threatening the growth of economies and the stability of societies worldwide. Education systems, and Technical and


Vocational Education and Training (TVET) systems in particular, face a number of challenges in addressing this global skills gap. A lack of employer engagement and consultation


at a strategic level leads to TVET systems that don’t meet employer needs. Tere is a particular lack of emphasis on soft skills – the additional skills such as spoken communication that are essential for functioning in the world of work. In many countries, TVET systems are also


extremely fragmented, with responsibilities being spread across multiple government departments. Tis inevitably leads to a lack of


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coherent leadership and regulation, which makes it difficult to implement any lasting systematic change and ensure common quality standards.


BRIDGING THE GAP As a leader in skills and employability, the British Council works worldwide to respond to the global skills gap. At the national level we help to support policy reform and design new systems and approaches for skills development, which includes sustainable employer engagement mechanisms. At the institutional level we deliver training to help build the capacity of institutions to deliver quality TVET for young people. Central to our approach is connecting our work


across all of these levels to support ‘bottom-up’ policy change and to help create meaningful relationships and partnerships between policy makers, employers, institutions and practitioners.


A FOCUS ON SOFT SKILLS To be more market-led, TVET systems must continually adapt to meet employer needs. With more and more employers reporting a lack of soft skills amongst candidates, ensuring TVET systems balance any industry skills


ABOUT THE BRITISH COUNCIL The British Council is the UK’s cultural relations organisation. We create international opportunities in English, the Arts, Education and Society for the people of the UK and other countries, and build trust between them worldwide. Employees: 7,000 Global presence: 110 countries


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