Torino Skills City

Torino Skills City: solutions to global challenges in the city

Eighty people, including 40 local participants and an equal number from other countries, met in Torino for a three-day workshop: a real brainstorming session aimed at developing local solutions to the challenges of the future of work and skills. Among the topics under discussion were the development of lifelong learning policies to ensure the updating of skills in a constantly evolving job market. The event was organised in cooperation between the international institutions present in Torino – the European Training Foundation (ETF) and the International Training Centre of the International Labour Organization (ITC-ILO) - the UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning, the City of Torino, the Torino Chamber of Commerce, and Italian co-working network Talent Garden. The participants also had the opportunity to discover some of the other innovation centres in Torino, such as the Torino Polytechnic, the OGR Officine Grandi Riparazioni, the Don Bosco education centre in Valdocco and Sermig.

Hosted by the ITC-ILO, the meeting ended at Talent Garden in the presence of the Mayor of Torino Chiara Appendino, ETF Director Cesare Onestini, ICT-ILO Program Director Snehal Soneji, Talent Garden Head of Corporate Relations Barbara Graffino, and Head of the UNESCO Learning Cities Network Raul Valdés-Cotera. Also present were representatives of the cities of Cork (Ireland), Manizales (Colombia), Qatar and Singapore, who shared their experiences of using lifelong learning to support sustainability, innovation and inclusion.

“The World Economic Forum in Davos has confirmed that the future of work is uncertain and that the work of the future has still to be created. In this crucial moment of economic and social transition, the experts stress the importance of focusing on the new skills to be created. These are the skills and competences that, together with individual talent, give local job markets a global edge." said Chiara Appendino, Mayor of Torino. “In this context, the path that our city is taking with international organizations such as the ETF and the ITC ILO is particularly important, bringing dozens of experts in training and innovation from around the world around the same table. The role of the city is central in this process as an actor, an enabler, a facilitator and an accelerator. It can brings the new needs of citizens and businesses together with innovative models of skills development and attraction. We hope that this work will make Torino Skills City an international hub for new skills".

"The European Training Foundation (ETF) works for the European Union in almost thirty countries on the future of skills and work and the creation of lifelong learning systems. These challenges are present and pressing in our partner countries exactly as they are in the city, here in Torino." added Cesare Onestini, Director of the European Training Foundation. “It is essential to work together, as this experience has shown, to build a dynamic partnership that sparks action and new initiatives. The ETF is available to bring its knowledge and examples of good practice into the mix to support the city's planning.”

"The International Labour Organization (ILO) and its International Training Centre (ICT-ILO) are delighted to have entered into this intense partnership with the European Training Foundation and the UNESCO Institute of Lifelong learning for this event. This cooperative work has brought skills development experts from all over the world to Torino to discuss and find solutions to the 'Torino Challenges', problems identified by our local partners." said Snehal Soneji, Program Director of the ITC-ILO. "The development of skills and lifelong learning are both key to the Centennial Declaration of the International Labour Organization. The results produced by the experts at this event were in line with these two ideas. We are committed to working with the Torino stakeholders in implementing the solutions that the experts have developed for the city ".

"With its 170 members, UNESCO's Global Network of Learning Cities shares exceptional policies and practices that show how lifelong learning can become a reality at the local level." said Raul Valdés-Cotera, Network Manager at the UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning. "The meeting in Torino is an opportunity to show tangible examples of how to activate lifelong learning initiatives at local level and how to inspire new forward. I hope to continue working with the participants at the event to further develop quality lifelong learning systems globally”.

"As a chamber of commerce we offer continuous training to our entrepreneurs, grappling with the dynamism of the markets and digital transformation. In 2019 we offered free learning opportunities to almost five thousand participants in over 100 courses." said Vincenzo Ilotte, President of the Torino Chamber of Commerce. "However, it is increasingly important to collaborate also with the international actors present locally, to broaden our outlook and contribute to making our city a global centre for high quality education and training".

“We are honoured to have been able to work together on the project with the ETF and the ILO. The three-day meeting was certainly interesting and useful." said Barbara Graffino, Head of Corporate Relations at Talent Garden. “We are convinced that Torino can be a skills city, a vision that will be realised through concrete actions and results. In particular, we believe that the spirit of cooperation that has been created must continue. All actors, whether institutional or private sector, must play an active part in a network that promotes excellence, increases talent and makes the region more competitive. Torino Skills City can and must be an important part of a development strategy. We are here to do our bit.”

The solutions that emerged from the three-day brainstorming focused attention on the need to create a vision for lifelong learning and to activate agents of transformation - which can include all citizens - outside the existing innovation hubs. Among the ideas that emerged were: investing in technology to digitise education provision, and facilitate the matching of supply and demand, for example by creating 'digital badges’ to recognise lifelong and informal training; ‘reverse mentoring’, i.e. activating young people as mentors for the rest of the population in digital skills; and 'championship support ', i.e. including the city in a network of successful international experiences.



The meeting was organized by:

  • The European Training Foundation (ETF), an agency of the European Union based in Villa Gualino, Torino. The ETF supports countries bordering the European Union to reform their vocational education and training systems in the context of the EU’s external relations policies;
  • The International Training Center of the International Labour Organization (ITC-ILO) is the training arm of the International Labor Organization, founded in 1919. The mission of the Center is to make decent work possible for all through learning programs and institutional capacity building for governments, workers’ and employers' organisations;
  • The UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning supports countries in the field of lifelong learning, with a focus on continuing and adult education, literacy and non-formal training. The institute coordinates the UNESCO Global Network of Learning Cities, which has 170 members worldwide.

It benefited from the patronage of the Municipality of Torino, the hospitality of Talent Garden and the support of the Torino Chamber of Commerce.

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