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Bonn, 24-25 May 2018

Rapid technological progress, threats to environmental sustainability, and demographic transitions, are bringing about unprecedented disruptions in industries, economies, and societies globally. How can we adapt our training and educational systems for the changing world of work, that finds itself at the centre of these disruptions? UNESCO-UNEVOC International Centre organized a two day TVET Learning Forum hosting more than 100 global TVET stakeholders to understand the impact of different ongoing disruptions on skills, and discuss how their TVET systems are responding to the challenges and opportunities in the era of digital disruption, sustainable development, and displacement of people.

The opening session Forum, hosted at UN Campus in Bonn, included Ms.Elke Büdenbender – Spouse of the President of the Federal Republic of Germany, who has been an ardent proponent of TVET in Germany. As the Patron of the German Children’s and Youth Foundation, she has advocated for strengthening vocational training and encouraging prejudice-free occupational choices for the youth. Speaking at the occasion, Ms. Büdenbender stressed upon the importance of TVET in countering the challenges of youth unemployment. She also highlighted the role TVET can play in enabling productive learning & professional opportunities for migrants, and promote their social integration.

Senior representatives of key UNESCO-UNEVOC partners also joined Mr. Shyamal Majumdar, Head of UNESCO-UNEVOC , and Mr. Svein Osttveit, Director of Executive Office and the Director of the Division of Policy and Learning Systems in UNESCO's Education Sector, to establish the policy context for discussions during the Forum: Ms. Susanne Burger from the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), Ms. Marion Edel from the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), Mr. Reinhard Limbach - Deputy Mayor of the Federal City of Bonn.

Highlights of Key Discussions at the Forum

Aimed at improving the global understanding of and reinforcing ideas for skills development through TVET to counter the effect of disruptions in the world of work, experts and TVET stakeholders from over 30 countries across five regions share their insights throughout the Forum. With TVET systems distinctly responding to the requirements of the labour market, there are high expectations of TVET systems around the world to evolve and reinvent themselves to alleviate their impact on employment and promote lifelong learning.

'The first plenary session A world in flux – what we know of the impact of disruptions set the context for subsequent discussions of the Forum by shedding light on major disruptions caused by environmental, digital and demographic transitions and their impact on TVET and the world of work. Chaired by Mr. David Atchorena, Director, UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning, the panel included experts from UNESCO, OECD, ILO and the ETF, who shared insights on the digital, green and non-cognitive skill needs, the nature of the requirements for facilitation of youth towards labour mobility and employment. The panelists represent the Inter-Agency Group for TVET (IAG-TVET), which is a coordination mechanism to exchange knowledge and collaborate in developing policy areas in TVET.

The second plenary ‘Managing the effect of disruptions through improved governance of TVET systems’ discussed country-level responses and initiatives in governance of their TVET systems to grapple with the effects of these disruptions. Chaired by Mr. Pradeep Monga, Deputy Executive Coordinator of UNCCD, the session included presentation of country case studies of Canada, Ivory Coast, and Germany, by representatives of Colleges and Institutes Canada (CiCAN), Fédération Ivoirienne des Petites et Moyennes Entreprises (FIPME) et du Conseil National des Branches Professionnelles (CNBP), and BMBF.

The third plenary ‘Enhancing pathways for learning’ , examined different policy and institutional approaches and routes that can support and enhance learning pathways for young people, disadvantaged and vulnerable groups including women, and displaced individuals. Chaired by Mr. Loukas Zahilas, Senior Expert at CEDEFOP, panelists from BiBB- Germany, Tknika – Basque Country Spain, UNESCO and Skills Policy Ltd., TESDA – Philippines, and the Prime Minister’s Office Iraq.

Strategy Labs

Strategy Labs were also organized to serve as interactive platforms for discussion on practical and effective strategies to manage skill responses to the disruptions addressed by the Forum. The sessions were organized and facilitated by Members of the UNEVOC Network, UNESCO and its partners involved in recent research, capacity building and other collaboration activities. They discussed key issues and opportunities addressed by the Forum, and examined disruptions – their implications for TVET and skills development – and available tools and resources to turn these disruptions into a positive force.

The topics covered included:

1. Diversifying financing and investment in TVET Led by NCVER, Australia

2. Skills training and vocational education for migrant and displaced youth and adults led by The University of Nottingham, United Kingdom

3. Emerging models for TVET to meet the demands of green jobs and enhance local actions led by Led by CEGEP, Canada

4. TVET teacher preparation for the digital future of work led by Fontys University of Applied Sciences, The Netherlands

5. Pathways of progression between TVET and higher education led by UNESCO

6. Modelling innovative entrepreneurial learning in TVET led by Tknika - Basque Country, Spain

Reflections from the Forum

1. Understanding disruptions requires having an overview of developments at the global and local levels.

2. Cooperation is key to strengthening TVET’s response.

3. Lifelong learning must be a key component in TVET design.

4. Teachers and trainers need to be empowered.

5. Policy-making requires broad stakeholder engagement.

Charting a course of action

The Forum concluded with messages from four stakeholder groups: youth, the Private sector, skills association, and TVET Network. The messages encouraged actions responding to disruptions. A key message that resonated in this session called upon all stakeholder groups to look from within what they can contribute to minimize the negative effects of disruptions and translate them into opportunities that promise: job readiness, youth empowerment, consultative process in policy development involving all stakeholders, and multi-level participation and accountability in TVET.

The international TVET community, including the UNEVOC Network, are invited to work with UNESCO and UNESCO-UNEVOC to:

1. Develop the capacity of leaders to drive innovation and change.

2. Generate and share knowledge. Networking is about bridging experiences – transferring and connecting experiences around the world.

3. Strengthen collaboration. Institutions in the network will be supported to break down the barriers and increase synergy and collaboration.

4. Under its Medium-Term Strategy for the period 2018 to 2020, UNESCO-UNEVOC will aim to address the capacity needs of TVET leaders and managers, strengthen collaboration, knowledge exchange, and peer learning.


The United Nations Sustainable Development Agenda 2030, also identifies TVET as one of the key action areas in pursuit of the Sustainable Development Goals for Education, and Decent Work and Economic Growth. UNESCO, as the lead UN agency for Sustainable Development Goal 4, and the Education 2030 Framework for Action, has developed a Recommendation concerning TVET, and a Strategy for TVET (2016-2021) to support the efforts of Member States to boost the relevance of their TVET systems. The world-wide UNEVOC Network, coordinated by UNESCO-UNEVOC International Centre for TVET located at UN Campus in Bonn, is the key driver for mutual learning, capacity-building and advancing international cooperation in TVET.

Further Details:

1. Download PDF Key Highlights of the Learning Forum

2. Access Presentations, pictures and videos of the event



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