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The World Economic Forum wants to give 1 billion people better jobs

A panel session on the closing day of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland, on Friday, Jan. 24, 2020. (Photographer: Jason Alden/Bloomberg)

The World Economic Forum (WEF) has launched a global initiative that aims to retrain and educate 1 billion people by 2030.

Launched at the WEF’s annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland last week, the ‘Reskilling Revolution’ is a platform to connect and coordinate initiatives occurring across various countries, industries, organisations and schools in a bid to prepare workers for the skills they will need in the future.

The OECD has also estimated that 1.1 billion jobs are at risk of becoming radically transformed by technology in the next 10 years.

In late 2018, the WEF warned that some skills – such as manual labour and management of financial or material resources – would become obsolete. Meanwhile, skills such as creativity, analytical thinking and problem-solving will be in greater demand by 2021.

“The Reskilling Revolution platform has been designed to prepare the global workforce with the skills needed to future-proof their careers against the expected displacement of millions of jobs and skills instability as a result of technological change,” the Forum said in a statement.

“It is also designed to provide businesses and economies with the skilled labour needed to fulfil the millions of new roles that will be created by the Fourth Industrial Revolution, shifts in the global economy and industrial transitions towards sustainability.”

WEF founder and executive chairman Klaus Schwab said the way to create a more cohesive and inclusive society was to provide people with a better job and income.

“Here in Davos, we are creating a public-private platform to give one billion people the skills they need in the age of the Fourth Industrial Revolution,” he said. “The scale and urgency of this transformation calls for nothing short of a reskilling revolution.”

Who is part of the Reskilling Revolution?

A number of countries and corporations alike have already signed up to the Reskilling Revolution.

The countries of India, Pakistan, Russia, the United Arab Emirates and Oman will run the ‘Closing the Skills Gap National Accelerators’ which aims for collaborative action across public and private sectors to address skills gaps and reshapes education and training.

Denmark and Singapore are also ‘learning network champions’, while the US has pledged to retrain and upskill its workforce, with over 415 companies pledging 14.5 million career-enhancing opportunities over the next five years.

France has launched the Mon Compte Formation, which provides individuals with an app that will provide lifelong learning and training.

The Adecco Group will help 5 million workers upskill and reskill by 2030, and Coursera is a data partner and founding member of the online training platforms hosted by the WEF Reskilling Revolution.

Infosys is expanding computer science education to students and will also provide online training to the Reskilling Revolution, while LinkedIn will be a data partner.

ManpowerGroup will provide accelerated upskilling and on-the-job training to hundreds of thousands of people, and PwC has a program to support public-private collaborations, and will upskill all of its 276,000 workers.

Salesforce will train 1 million people through its free learning platform Trailhead in the next five years.

A number of international and civil society organisations will also be involved, such as UNICEF, Generation Unlimited, Education Commission, and iamtheCODE.

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