PAM’s priority action programme: How to offer everyone equal opportunities for skills development and education?
PAM’s Congress in June decided on a new priority action programme, which is made up of six themes. The fourth theme addresses skills development and the importance of education in future working life.
The demands placed on employees are ever-increasing, with the nature of working life undergoing sweeping changes: job descriptions are becoming blurred, work is disappearing and being created in different sectors and “work” is being redefined. Skills development is a lifelong process that also has to be resourced in working life.
Currently not everyone has equal opportunities for skills development since educational level is very much inherited based on a family’s socio-economic status. Also, opportunities for skills development in working life, for example staff training, are focused on white-collar employees. Skills development opportunities mean rights, resources, provision and regular assessment of skills development needs.
“Employers should bear more responsibility for maintaining and developing the skills of their blue-collar employees and see staff skills development as an essential investment in the future”, the programme states. Education and basic skills create the basis for continual skills development and lifelong learning. Studies show that hundreds of thousands of working-age Finns suffer from poor basic skills (reading, writing and language skills, mathematical skills, ICT skills). Without basic skills we cannot develop more advanced skills, which are needed as working life changes", says PAM’s education and training policy expert Mikko Laakkonen.
We also need civic competences and employment skills to be active members of a democracy. These allow people to feel that they can influence society. This is reflected for example in higher voter turnout among employees and in civic activity in the trade union movement.
“If employees do not take part in the democratic process, someone else will step in to fill the void. We will be voluntarily giving up our opportunity to influence.
More attention should be paid to civic skills in vocational training for young people. This would be an investment in a more equal society”, adds Laakkonen.
PAM’s priority is
- to actively enhance and maintain employees’ basic skills, so as to be able to develop professional skills. Working life and civic skills are taught comprehensively throughout the education pathway.
- that employers offer employees staff training equally, regardless of their educational background or position.