Origins and history
From the beginning, ILO/Cinterfor* was conceived as a knowledge management centre; at that time (1963) the exchange of experiences was incorporated in its mission, based on research, documentation and dissemination of vocational training activities and that will act as a core system constituted by vocational training institutions and organizations of ILO Member States in America and Spain.
In the early sixties, most American countries faced the need to increase the general level of their manpower training in order to improve the quantity and quality of the enterprises' performance and the workers' living conditions. Given this situation, many countries (Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Uruguay, and Venezuela, among others) began, with technical assistance from the ILO, actions aimed at the creation of new national vocational training services, based on a tight collaboration with workers and employers, and dedicated to the training of apprentices and adult workers.
The organization of these services, the preparation and publication of training programs, the preparation of education personnel and the study of necessary installations and equipment represented a great effort in research and a good deal of adaptation among each of these countries. It was then considered essential that such efforts and accumulated experience were disseminated, on a large scale in the region, and that ILO/Cinterfor promoted coordination among such institutions.
Facing this situation and considering the general resolution concerning vocational training adopted in the Seventh Conference held in Buenos Aires, it was decided, among other things, to recommend to the International Labour Organization the creation of ILO/Cinterfor, which would promote a permanent cooperation between national units in charge of vocational training.
As part of this recommendation, it was pointed out that the Centre should have as its main duties the gathering of all documentation related to vocational training aspects and, to that effect, the establishment of necessary contacts with all specialized organizations; disseminate this documentation in an appropriate way among interested national organizations; implement, at the organizations' request, all kind of research related to the general and technical organization of vocational training; prepare vocational training teaching material, according to the needs or requests of interested entities. Thus, in 1963 the International Labour Organization (ILO) created Cinterfor, headquartered in Montevideo, Uruguay since then.
In December 2006 the Director General of the ILO initiated a process leading to the formulation of a new middle term strategic plan to guide the work of ILO/Cinterfor in the years ahead. This strategic plan, adopted in 2007, consulted the new vocational training trends, advances and prospects in the region and around the world.
As a result, a work strategy was generated strengthening the member institutions' network under a horizontal cooperation concept using intensively the knowledge generated in the network. Additionally, its name was changed to "Inter-American Centre for Knowledge Development in Vocational Training" in order to reflect with major precission the range of services and activities offered by the Centre.
Nowadays ILO/Cinterfor coordinates the largest network of Vocational Training Institutions -VTI- of the world. More than sixty institutions of twenty seven countries in Latin America, the Caribbean and Europe, share the accumulated knowledge and permanently carry out south-south cooperation actions to strengthen each other and respond to the need to develop human resources skills to meet the needs of the productive sector.
(*) Initially it was named Inter-American Research and Documentation Centre on Vocational Training. In 2007 adopted its actual denomination.