The International Labour Organization (ILO) is calling on individuals and organizations to share innovative ideas and solutions to address the skills mismatch challenge. The ILO Skills Challenge Innovation Call will recognise and support the development of solutions that aim to address the different forms and dimensions of skills mismatch.
The ILO Skills Challenge Innovation Call aims to support achievement of UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) 4, which aims to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all, and SDG 8, which aims to promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all, by enabling new solutions for workforce development that deliver relevant skills for productive employment and decent work.
These can include proposals to:
- Enhance the effectiveness of vocational education and training programmes through innovative delivery and assessment partnerships;
- Improve the development and recognition of knowledge, skills and attributes of employees through innovative work based learning initiatives;
- Empower enterprises to better utilise the skills of their workers;
- Improve the collection, analysis, management and use of data and information on skill needs and labour market trends;
- Improve the training and employment of under-represented groups including migrant and refugees, people with disabilities, young people and women;
- Improve the provision of active labour market programmes through the integrated provision of vocational and job search assistance, training and work placement for the unemployed; and
- To establish new and innovative multi-stakeholder partnerships to address skills mismatch at the regional, sectoral or local levels.
What is the skills mismatch challenge call?
Skills systems are confronted by the need to respond to increasingly dynamic and fluid labour market and societal conditions. Climate change, technology, demographic shifts, migration and globalization are causing increasing disruption in the world of work, while making skills development more complex, fluid and unpredictable.
Skills mismatch continues to be a challenge in today’s labour markets. The concept of skills mismatch covers different issues and requires targeted solutions. Studies have reported that in 2018 up to 45 per cent of employers could not find people with the right set of skills, an increase from 31 per cent in 2008. At the same time, more than one-third of workers experience qualification mismatch, with a sizable wage penalty of 20 per cent compared to their well-matched counterparts.
Skills mismatch can take different forms. It can refer to the problems faced by employers to fill vacancies (skills shortages), where employees lack the skills necessary to do their jobs effectively (skill gaps); and when individuals have qualifications above or beyond those required for their job (over/under qualified). It also covers the concept of skills obsolescence where workers lose skills over time due to lack of use.
What will the winner get?
The winning entry will receive substantial support comprised on the following:
- Financial support: The winner will receive a $50,000 grant to implement the proposed solution;
- Six-month innovation lab: The winner will receive technical support to transform the idea into a prototype ready to be piloted, including through boot camps and remote mentoring via a virtual platform;
- Worldwide visibility: The winner will receive support through awareness raising of the idea and solution, including an invitation to a global event to present the innovation concept to potential partners and sponsors, press articles in media channels, videos, among others;
- Extended network and partnerships: The winner and shortlisted entries will join the ILO’s Global Network of Skills Innovators. They will have the opportunity to exchange with other innovators and share their solutions with ILO’s stakeholders.
What must the winner do?
To receive the grant, the applicant must sign a Grant Agreement with the ILO, which includes standard clauses on intellectual property rights, financial reporting requirements, criteria for the disbursement of funds, dispute resolution, and details of the proposed solution implementation. Naturally, grantees are expected to comply with the terms and conditions stipulated in the agreement;
As a pre-condition, before being permitted to sign a grant agreement with the ILO, the winner must within three weeks produce a detailed work plan and budget that will form the basis for the milestones that must be achieved. Final award is subject to the satisfactory completion of this detailed work plan.
- Any individual or any formally constituted and registered organisation/company in existence for at least two calendar years prior to the deadline. By organizations ILO mean education and training institutions (including schools, public and private training providers and universities), government agencies, NGOs and civil society organizations, public and private enterprises, regional and sectoral bodies, cooperatives, and research organisations;
- ILO are open to all ideas and solutions at any stage of development. They can be at an early-stage or more mature innovation. They can be a one person’s idea or involve a collaborative joint effort from different actors, such as governments, employers’ and workers’ organizations;
- An expert evaluation panel will evaluate all proposals and the winner will receive support to turn the idea into reality and cement their role as innovators in skills development.
What can be submitted?
One or more ideas and solutions to tackle the skills mismatch challenge. ILO embrace innovative approaches, projects, tools, technologies and partnerships that seek to rethink and redesign the way they work to match skills and labour market needs.
How to Apply
To submit your idea or solution, applicants should:
- Go to the ILO Skills Challenge Innovation Call webpage;
- Review the eligibility criteria and terms and conditions of the competition, as well as the Grant Agreement with the ILO;
- Develop the proposal and secure support from partners;
- Complete the application form given via website.
For more information, visit ILO.