CALL FOR PAPERS: Revitalizing Inclusive Growth in the Changing World of Work
Revitalizing Inclusive Growth in the Changing World of Work: Skills and Lifelong Learning for More and Better Jobs in Asia and the Pacific
The International Labour Organization (ILO) invites researchers to submit proposals for innovative research papers relevant to the theme of skills development in Asia and the Pacific. The deadline for submission of proposals is 5 June 2023.
Authors of accepted papers will be invited to present their work at the ILO-Korea TVET Forum to be held November 2023 in Bangkok, Thailand.  The final selected papers will be part of the accompanying ILO publication (likely an edited volume).
Key information about the Call for Papers
Submission deadline for a proposal of research paper: 5 June 2023
Notification of acceptance of the proposal: 19 June 2023
Submission deadline of first draft of the paper: 10 September 2023
Language: Proposals and full papers should be submitted in English. The ILO-Korea TVET Forum will be held primarily in English.
The COVID-19 pandemic hit the region as it was facing profound challenges shaping the future of work, notably accelerated technological advancement, decarbonization and greening, demographic change, and deepening globalization. These changes come with both opportunities and challenges. While advancement of technology allows new forms of business and work and is driving up skill needs, increased automation is putting low-skilled workers, especially women, at risk of losing employment. While transition to greener economies is an aspiration of many countries, unless well-managed, such transitions could lead to job losses resulting from economic and enterprise restructuring.
While the region, notably the Eastern Asia and South-Eastern Asia subregions, is known for its strong economic performance, the pandemic has highlighted the deep-seated structural challenges that result in persistent inequalities and vulnerabilities, including a struggling small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) sector, the large size of the informal economy, and a rural economy that is often characterised by persistent poverty and subsistence agriculture. Job quality remains a major concern in the region. A major policy priority, thus, has been to facilitate increased productivity, economic diversification, and structural transformation to move up value chains that can spur the creation of more productive and higher quality jobs.
Skills development of the workforce is a key element in the post-pandemic recovery, productivity growth, and structural transformation that can spur the creation of more rewarding and productive jobs. The demand and supply of skills are being rapidly redefined by transforming technological innovations, the transition to a green economy, demographic change, and deepening globalization through global value and supply chains. At all stages of a person’s career, training, re-training and skills upgrading are prerequisites for workers to secure quality jobs, as well as providing them with an effective route out of poverty and a means to adapt to the changing world of work. The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the ILO Centenary Declaration for the Future of Work (2019), and the ILO Global Call to Action for a Human-Centred Recovery from the COVID-19 Crisis place renewed emphasis on skills development and lifelong learning as “key enablers of human development, full, productive and freely chosen employment and decent work, productivity improvement and sustainable development”.
A human-centred COVID recovery and the need for accelerated, sustainable and inclusive growth in the changing world of work provide critical contexts for reshaping post-pandemic skills and technical and vocational education and training (TVET) systems.
Priority needs to be placed on skills development from a lifelong learning perspective, with more investment in the human capital that can enable workers to benefit from the employment opportunities created by technological change, globalization and efforts to combat climate change. It is also critical that investing in skills development is strongly linked to the impact on productivity and business growth to enable creation of more and better jobs. Existing systems need to be agile and responsive to meet skills needs of the changing world of work, while being coherent, quality assured and inclusive by broadening access to quality TVET programmes for those have been underserved, including women and vulnerable groups. It is also critical that TVET systems support a just transition of workers whose employment is adversely affected by digitalization and other aspects of industry transformation.
To improve productivity growth and business and sector transformation, and for skills development to contribute to the process, effective participation of industry and social partners in policy making and system reforms in skills development is critical and needs to be accelerated.
This call for papers builds on ILO’s earlier work on skills and the future of work in Asia and the Pacific. Among such work is the ILO publication, Skills and the future of work: Strategies for inclusive growth in Asia and the Pacific (2019) that followed ILO regional skills meetings in 2017 and 2018. Those meetings brought together a wide-ranging set of discussions, analyses and perspectives on key topics concerning skills and the future of work that facilitated a regional dialogue on policy options and the need for a future skills strategy to facilitate better employment and business outcomes. The Special Thematic Session on Revitalizing productivity growth and skills for more and better jobs, which took place at the 17th Asia and the Pacific Regional Meeting (APRM) in December 2022, discussed national skills initiatives, in particular in the context of mitigating the impact of the pandemic on jobs and businesses.
A fuller review and additional analyses of the variety of national responses, and progress made, in advancing reforms of skills and TVET systems is due. Providing evidence of what has and has not worked in the effort and explaining why would assist in guiding future policy and reform endeavours in the region.
About the ILO-Korea TVET Forum
The call for papers is organized in conjunction with the 3rd ILO-Korea TVET Forum planned for November 2023.
The 1st ILO-Korea TVET Form in 2016 kick-started the discussion on the future of work with a focus on skills and TVET in Asia and the Pacific that was relatively new to the region at that time. A frequent question for TVET policymakers concerns the role of skills and TVET systems in the rapidly changing work context and the demand for relevant skills. This question becomes even more pertinent when many countries in the region are considering TVET reform and thus it became the main theme of the ILO-Korea TVET Forum since the initial 2016 event. The 2nd Forum was held in 2018 under the theme of Skills and the Future of Work in Asia and Pacific, which included the launch of the ILO publication on the subject.
The 3rd ILO-Korea TVET Forum will be co-hosted by the ILO and the Ministry of Employment and Labour, Republic of Korea. The 2023 Forum will discuss the progress made and challenges faced by the region as it responds to opportunities and challenges of the changing world of work and the need to accelerate the Covid-19 recovery. The research papers are expected to review and assess national and regional initiatives and highlight lesson learned and good practices, including the role of government, employers and workers groups, to contribute to this regional policy dialogue.
The overarching theme of research papers is the role of skills and lifelong learning in revitalizing inclusive growth with special attention to policies and programmes that support the creation of more and better jobs and just transitions. The International Labour Organization (ILO) invites researchers to submit proposals for research papers in the following thematic areas. The bullet points under each area are only suggestions and other sub-themes may be covered.
- Lifelong learning, as a response to the changing world of work
- Framework for monitoring the effectiveness and progress of lifelong learning
- Policies and programmes for re/upskilling and lifelong learning and their impacts
- Policy coordination among skills, productivity, jobs and career progression
- Learner-centered approach to TVET; quality apprenticeship; core/transversal skills; micro, digital credentials; and labour market information and skills needs anticipation
- Skills responses to digital transformation
- Policy coordination among skills, jobs, productivity and digital transformation
- Policies and programmes supporting the digital transformation of TVET, including digital learning platform, and their impacts
- Identification of skills needs and reskilling programmes to harness digitalization
- Focused initiatives on SMEs, supply chains, women and disadvantaged groups
- Digitization of the skills/TVET sector, including use of digital technologies in identifying skills demands (i.e. big data); online and blended learning, assessment and management systems; incorporating digital skills in training
- Green transition and diversification through skills development
- Impact of green transition on jobs and skills needs
- Policy coordination among green transition, jobs and skills
- Policies and programmes supporting greening transitions and their impacts
- Support programmes for job transitions
- Greening of the skills/TVET sector, including greening of competency standards, curricula, training and assessment packages
- Skills initiatives for supply chains and trade, OR in ageing societies
- Case studies of skills initiatives in supply chain upgrading and trade expansion
- Role of MNEs, or employers’ associations in skills upgrading of the overall supply chains and global value chains
- Innovative policies and programmes for promoting skills and employment in ageing societies and their impacts
- Skills development for equality and inclusion
- Impacts of distance learning, and technology-aided teaching on learning outcomes of vulnerable groups
- Skills training and certification in facilitating informal to formal employment
- Promoting women in STEM related careers
- Revitalizing rural economies through skills and lifelong learning
Within each theme, research papers with a focus on the followings would be most welcomed.
- Policy analysis, and new approaches to policy frameworks
- Innovative policies and programmes, and their impact analyses
- Role of social partners (employers and workers) and their engagement in skills and TVET
- Integrated approaches that include skills development programmes as part of a broader, or concerted effort (e.g., skills for productivity and business diversification, skills for local economies/area-based development)
- Regional (and sub-regional) initiatives, or initiatives that cut across borders
Instructions for submission and timeline
The proposal should address one of the 5 themes listed above.
Papers can be national, comparative of two or more countries, or regional within Asia and the Pacific.
The proposal should include:
- Full paper title
- Full name, affiliation, contact details of the lead/corresponding author
- Recent C.V. of the lead author
- For other authors, full name, affiliation and email
- Identification of relevant theme (1-5 above)
- Short introductive summary (approximately 800 words)
- Arguments regarding the paper’s relevance for policy dialogue
- Methodology to be utilized
- Annotated outline of the paper
A Committee of Experts, consisting of prominent researchers and technical specialists within, or externally engaged by the ILO, will evaluate the submitted proposals on the basis of their originality, suggested methodology and policy relevance.
The corresponding author of the accepted research paper proposal will be contacted no later than 19 June 2023.
For an accepted proposal, a full draft paper should then be submitted by 10 September 2023. The proposal and draft paper will be peer reviewed and comments/suggestions may be provided to authors to adapt or revise the work in advance of the Forum, which will take place in November 2023.
ILO. n.d. "17th Asia and the Pacific Regional Meeting (APRM), Session 4: Revitalizing Productivity Growth and Skills for More and Better Jobs".
ILO. 2022. The Digital Transformation of Apprenticeships: Emerging Opportunities and Barriers.
———. 2021. Changing Demand for Skills in Digital Economies and Societies: Literature Review and Case Studies from Low- and Middle-income Countries.
———. 2021. Digitalization of National TVET and Skills systems: Harnessing Technology to Support LLL: An Enquiry and Action Framework.
———. 2020. Lifelong Learning in the Informal Economy: A Literature Review.
———. 2019. Skills for a Greener Future: A Global View.
———. 2018. Concept Note of the ILO-Korea TVET Forum. 2018.
———. 2018. Skills and the Future of Work: Strategies for Inclusive Growth in Asia and the Pacific.
 Travel and accommodation will be provided.
 ILO, Resolution concerning skills and lifelong learning (11 December 2021) Resolution XVII (ilo.org)
 ILO regional skills meetings in 2017 and 2018 with support of the Government of Korea were on the topic of skills development and the future work with a focus on the Asia-Pacific region.