JAKARTA, 16 November 2018 – ASEAN representatives interfaced and exchanged views on ASEAN’s response to the future of work in the digital economy at Regional Conference on Reducing Youth Unemployment on 15-16 November in Jakarta.

More than 70 officials from ministries in charge of labour, education and industry of ASEAN Member States, representatives of employers’ associations, ASEAN Trade Union Council, and ASEAN Services Employees Trade Union Council participated in the conference.

Participants shared various strategies to support competitiveness of human resources in their respective countries and their preparedness for the future of work. They highlighted Indonesia’s holistic roadmap towards Industry Revolution 4.0 preparedness, Singapore’s Skills Future initiative to nurture future oriented skills, and the Philippines’ strategic response to promote Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) for global competitiveness. At the regional level, the ASEAN Skills Competition was identified as a platform to boost excellence in vocational-level skills.

Educational systems based on learning outcomes, promotion of up-skilling or re-skilling opportunities in a life-long learning ecosystem, functional labour market information systems, and dual-track system of TVET in partnership with industries were some of the key areas identified as needing greater attention in promoting future-ready human resources and reducing youth unemployment in the region. The importance of providing adequate support to boost competitiveness of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises, which absorb more than half of ASEAN’s total work force, also figured prominently in the discussions.

The conference was hosted by the Ministry of Manpower of Indonesia in collaboration with ASEAN Secretariat and International Labour Organisation, and with the support of government of Switzerland. It was an activity planned in the five-year Work Plan of ASEAN senior official sectoral body on labour.