In one way or another, all of the ETF’s work – with its emphasis on helping vocational education and training systems better serve the labour market – is designed to make people in transition and developing countries more employable. Perhaps one of the clearest illustrations of this is the ETF’s work on. The thinking is that better guidance can not only empower individuals to take control of their futures, but also contribute to broader economic and social well-being by easing the functioning of labour markets.
Empowering people is also the focus of initiatives such as skills for poverty reduction. In Central Asia the ETF has been helping VET schools to extend their remit by training adults in rural areas on how to boost their incomes for example.
If people are to read situations accurately and react appropriately, they first of all need to be well-informed. Providing timely information, data and analysis is a second core part of the ETF’s mission and nowhere is the need for this clearer than when it comes to fast-changing labour markets. Since 1995, the ETF has been establishing observatories or observatory functions in many partner countries, as well as the more recent regional Euro-Mediterranean observatory network, with the aim of improving the quality of data on the labour markets and making this available to the policy makers. These organisations and networks have also helped the ETF collect a critical mass of statistical information which is published on a regular basis in the form of key indicators on VET and the labour market.
With their detailed information and analysis, labour market reviews – such as the series currently underway on the countries around the Black Sea – help to complete the picture. In 2009 the Tajikistan government drew heavily upon a similar review by the ETF to produce its new employment strategy. Other initiatives, such as the ETF’s drive to develop a more accurate methodology for gauging the levels of human capital development in a country, aim to make comparisons between countries easier.