ILO Recommendation 195. Subjects, focuses and actors of vocational training

It is interesting to study this new instrument for a variety of reasons. First, for a number of years, the ILO has been reviewing and updating its stance on labour standards, and the new Recommendation sheds light on this process. Second, the Recommendation contains a series of innovations in the area of themes and focuses in vocational training, and it is imperative to investigate exactly what these are. These new elements, which are at the very core of the new instrument, are the right to vocational training, lifelong learning, labour competencies, the certification of skills and decent work. We can learn a lot from the double discussion system that was employed in the debates about how the instrument was to be drawn up. In particular, the various twists and turns of the process clearly show that although employers and workers are both interested in promoting vocational training, this area cannot escape from the disagreements and arguments that arise in labour relations. At the end of this book we examine questions of interpretation and other matters that stem from adopting a Recommendation (No. 195) that accedes to an International Convention (No. 142) which was adopted twenty-nine years before. It is not easy to bring these two instruments, which are separated by such a long period of time, into harmony with each other, and this task certainly contains the seeds of future challenges for the ILO and for governments and social partners. The point is that because vocational training involves the interests of people, enterprises and society as a whole it has the characteristic –as has been mentioned in other Cinterfor/ILO publications– of being “hyper-textual” insofar as it is linked to many different aspects of social and labour life, and it cannot be encapsulated in a single dimension.

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