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Skills beyond School synthesis report

Skills are critical to economic growth and social well-being. Although initial vocational training at upper secondary level provides useful skills, in many jobs where demand is fast-growing – ranging from healthcare technicians to junior managers – such basic vocational training is no longer enough. Indeed, higher-level professional, managerial and technical skills are increasingly required. In the United States, it is estimated that one-third of all vacancies by 2018 will call for some post-secondary qualification, but not necessarily the completion of a four-year degree.

Based on a series of 20 country studies, this synthesis report of Skills beyond School looks at how OECD countries are responding to this growing demand for skills, and the further steps they need to succeed. The report underlines many challenges: while some countries have thriving post-secondary vocational sectors, others have found it difficult to find a place for shorter (one-or two-year) programmes in competition with better known academic qualifications. The engagement of the social partners – employers and trade unions – is as vital as it is sometimes elusive. Vocational training qualifications are sometimes outdated or lack currency in the labour market.

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