Local Employment and Economic Development (LEED Programme)

Workshop: Skills strategies for inclusive development in India – Accelerating prosperity through policy coherence (New Delhi, India)


27 April 2012, New Delhi, India


This workshop was organised by Institute of Competitiveness India in cooperation with the OECD LEED Programme


What / Who / Where / Contact



India has been quick to emerge from the financial and economic crisis. However, strong recovery and rapid growth do not equate to social development for all. Strategic development measures need to look at the invisible infrastructure that training and skills provide for the workforce and how to reach those and invest in the human capital in the informal economy.

The Institute for Competitiveness India, the National Skill Development Corporation India and the OECD LEED Programme in collaboration with the ILO joined forces to discuss local skills strategies for job-rich and inclusive growth in India. The discussions focused on the role of policy coherence for skills than can accelerate the prosperity of communities and competitiveness of industries. Themes included: a) how local integrated skills strategies can be designed in practice; b) what skills for structural transformation and competitiveness (for the high, medium and low skilled), c) what is the role of different stakeholders locally; d) what are the implication for ministries of labour, education and economy; e) how can integrated skills strategies be financed through public-private partnerships; f) how can successful partnerships between education and industry be built, reaching SMEs in both the formal and non-formal economy.

The workshop was organised as part of the Asia Competitiveness Forum: ‘Competitiveness, Economic Development, Prosperity’ organised by Institute for Competitiveness and within the ESSSA initiative. Participants were able to learn from best practice experiences in the design and implementation of integrated skills strategies and inclusive local development from OECD and non-OECD countries. The workshop, held in India, a key partner of the OECD, was timely as the OECD was currently finalising a Skills Strategy, to provide guidance on integrated approaches to skills development.

The conference is supported by Institute of Competitiveness India, National Skill Development Corporation India and GIZ, FSG, Harvard Business Publishing, SMART University of Michigan, MBA Universe and MSME



Theme I: Fostering the Dynamics of Skills, Employment and Infrastructure Development

Trade and financial recovery from the crisis and renewed growth might be faster or easier than employment growth , particularly at the local level where some places stagnate or decline. Technological progress and changes in demand patterns see continuous pressures to adapt but some localities find this easier than others. Job creation does not respond to the same strategies everywhere and while the focus on infrastructure development might have priority in many areas, building skills programs in parallel can be an effective pathway for sustained and inclusive growth. The role of public policy and policy coordination is therefore crucial to facilitate and accelerate sustainable pathways for local development. How can Education, Employment and Entrepreneurship be combined and fostered within infrastructure development plans? Is there enough autonomy and capacity in the education and training sector to adjust skills development programs to support infrastructure development? What examples of initiatives exist in India, Asian, and OECD countries?

Theme II: Innovation in Skills Development and Skills Management that reach SMEs

India and the Asian region are rich in entrepreneurs and small firm formation. Innovative approaches to skills and talent development can foster a high-growth business environment with higher potential for job creation particularly in SMEs. At the same time issues of accreditation and certification of skills need to be taken into consideration. What skills for structural transformation and industry competitiveness? What skills for high growth sectors? What experiences exist for fostering skills in SMEs? What experiences for fostering entrepreneurship? How can skills policies best contribute to firm survival and sustainable employment creation and to which areas of business growth? What examples exist in India and other Asian countries to build skills in the less formal SMEs sector?

Theme III: Strategies for Job Creation, Skills Development and Social Protection

There is an emerging consensus that shifting from export-led recovery and growth towards greater reliance on domestic and regional sources of demand will be critical to sustain economic prosperity in Asia as well as globally. A new pattern of economic growth is emerging in Asia, characterised by vigorous policies to support domestic consumption and investment, active employment and labour market policies to facilitate industrial and labour market adjustments, and stronger social protection measures to accelerate inclusive growth and poverty reduction. In this new paradigm the strategies and policies of local governments are more at the centre-stage. What are the elements to promote an inclusive, job-rich growth in Asia? What are the capacities that countries need to build to implement them with success? What examples are available in India and other Asian countries?

Theme IV: Towards an Inclusive Model of Skills Development in Asia

The design of skills and employment strategies and programmes should respond to local conditions, market failures and challenges, and should involve a wide range of stakeholders from both the public and private sectors to optimize the relevance and impact of such strategies. Policy coherence is needed at horizontal and vertical level across and within different Ministries and Institutions. In the same way that industrial development is different in the North and the South, skills development models can differ. Is there an emerging model of skills development in Asia? What role for different stakeholders? How to reach different groups and ensure the widest numbers benefit ? How to foster skills strategies for all: for the high, medium and low skilled? How can we forge better partnerships for skills for employment and entrepreneurship with such stakeholders? What are the obstacles to a joined-up approach? What operational pathways can be proposed for India and other Asian countries?

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  • 50-60 mid to senior level representatives from ministries of education, employment and economy, government employment agencies, and local government bodies, from India and neighbouring countries part of the ESSSA initiative.
  • Government officials from interested OECD countries.
  • Skills and employment development experts from international organisations and industry bodies.
  • Academics and experts on human capital development, local development, private sector development, local governance, social inclusion.


The experts’ meeting workshop took place at the Hilton, Janakpuri New Delhi.

More details about the conference are available on the ESSSA interactive web space and on the ICI website ICI website.



For further information please contact Professor Amit Kappor at, Honorary Chairman, Institute for Competitiveness or Dr. Cristina Martinez-Fernandez at, Manager of the OECD LEED ESSSA initiative and Policy Analyst on local governance and employment.