Inter-American Centre for Knowledge Development in Vocational Training
Training, productivity and decent work
The process of economic globalization has transformed the competitiveness of enterprises, of sectors or branches of activity, and of national productive systems, into one of the main -if not the most important of all- factors conditioning the economic and social development of nations, and thereby the welfare degree of its people.
In this context, productivity -an essential element determining the degree of competitiveness of the above units- acquires fundamental significance. Productivity must be interpreted as the efficient use of all productive resources, and increases in productivity imply a more rational, rather than more intensive, use of such resources.
Raising productivity basically means working better, not harder. Consequently, the two main forms of raising productivity -technological innovation and improved work organization- are not possible without prior or simultaneous training of the labour force.
Nevertheless, not only training is required to attain higher productivity. There are other factors that also encourage or inhibit a raise in productivity, which have to do with the general conditions under which work is performed. Such prerequisites are epitomised in the concept of decent work, promoted by the ILO, which may be defined as productive work carried out with freedom, equity, safety and dignity, with due protection of the workers' rights, adequate remuneration and social protection.
Training, productivity and decent work are therefore three closely intertwined notions.
The strong links between these concepts have far-reaching consequences for the action of vocational training institutions (VTIs). As their main goal is to contribute to the development of their respective countries' human resources, and thereby foster their economic and social development, the issue of productivity must have an outstanding and explicit place on their vocational training plans and agenda. VTIs will in that manner attain their ultimate object, namely, improving men's and women's possibilities of accessing decent work.