January 22, 2019

Governments urged to establish universal lifelong learning entitlement as automation looms

By Lucy Ingham

The International Labour Organization’s Global Commission on the Future of Work has recommended that a universal lifelong learning entitlement be established by governments around the world.

This would give people the tools to reskill and upskill in response to the changing demands of the job market, as automation sees some roles eliminated and others grow in number.

The International Labour Organization (ILO) recommendation was one of ten made by the organisation in response to the rapid changes facing the global job market.

These are designed to tackle problems that lie ahead, most notably the widening inequality that is occurring as technology’s benefits are enjoyed by some while marginalising others.

“Countless opportunities lie ahead to improve the quality of working lives, expand choice, close the gender gap, reverse the damages wreaked by global inequality,” the ILO wrote in the report.

“Yet none of this will happen by itself. Without decisive action we will be sleepwalking into a world that widens existing inequalities and uncertainties.”

Universal lifelong learning among 10 recommendations to governments

The recommendation of an entitlement to universal lifelong learning, which would see governments ensure all citizens have access to key education at any age, is one of ten recommendations made by the ILO.

Others include a universal labour guarantee to protect rights, maintain a living wage, limit working hours and ensure workplaces remain healthy, and guaranteed social protection from birth through to old age.

The ILO also called on governments to develop an international system to govern digital labour platforms, increase investment in care, green and rural economies, create a robust agenda for gender equality and provide businesses with greater incentives to make long-term investments.

“The world of work is undergoing great changes. They create many opportunities for more and better jobs,” said Swedish Prime Minister, Stefan Löfven, who is co-chair of the Global Commission on the Future of Work.

“But governments, trade unions and employers need to work together, to make economies and labour markets more inclusive. Such a social dialogue can help make globalisation work for everyone.”

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