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#LKDForum 2021 Highlights – Digital Skills for an Inclusive Future

September 30, 2021

With a focus on digital skills and social inclusion, the  LKDF Forum 2021 convened to find solutions on 22 September 2021. The Forum gathered dozens of experts from various backgrounds; and by extending the platform for action-oriented debates, the Forum sought to provide solutions to reduce job-skill mismatch, propose solutions to bridge the digital skills gap, and promote dialogue for future partnerships, leaving no one behind.

“As we gather at this year’s LKDF Forum, I call for all of us to work together stronger to build a demand-responsive skilled workforce, reduce the global job-skills mismatch, and more imperatively, bridge the digital divide,” said LI Yong, the Director General of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) in his opening remarks. “We must support each other in our global drive towards the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development … and the development of demand-oriented digital skills in the inclusive, gender-responsive and sustainable industry, ultimately contributing to a generation of equality.”

Also present at the official opening was Carin Jämtin, Director General of the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida), who pointed that “Life-long learning and skills development are key building blocks to productive development or productive employment. It is an important means for inclusive economic growth and poverty reduction.”

Nine high-level dignitaries took the floor to share their expertise in digital skills training and its role in closing gaps and promoting inclusivity during the following opening ceremony. The Forum carried on with a theme talk by UNIDO’s Cecilia Ugaz EstradaHP’s David Hollands, and UpSkill Digital’s Gori Yahaya, who discussed challenges women and marginalized groups face when accessing digital skills and the practices aiming to address digital inclusion.

Six sessions led by experts from businesses, inter-governmental organizations, and academia covered topics ranging from skill needs anticipation, inclusive business innovation, digitalization in inclusive education, workforce with diverse needs, re- and up- skilling investments, and motivations for life-long learning.

At the closing ceremony, Andrea De Remes, co-founder of Erandi Aprende, and Anurag Saha Roy, co-founder of Wikilimo, reiterated the importance of making digital skills learning available and accessible, and brought forward the question of how the international community should come into assistance. Bernardo Calzadilla-Sarmiento, Managing Director of UNIDO’s Directorate of Digitalisation, Technology and Agri-Business, addressed the interventions made by the two young leaders and called for the international community’s action to pursue an inclusive future for all and contribute to the Agenda 2030 and the Sustainable Development Goals.

“Youth are the future and they should be the ones saying what is needed. We need to involve young people in the decision-making in order to develop the training and the upskilling that they need. Strong involvement of all stakeholders is key if we want to make education and skills accessible to all” said Mr. Calzadilla-Sarmiento, in his final call-to-action to the international community.

The LKDF Forum is organized anually, in cooperation with the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida). The LKDF supports the establishment and upgrading of industrial training academies to help meet the labor market’s increasing demand for skilled employees, ultimately contributing to inclusive and sustainable industrial development (ISID).

Read the press release at the UNIDO website here.

The official recording of the LKDF Forum 2021 will be available in due course on the LKDF YouTube channel.

For more information, contact the LKDF team at lkd-facility@unido.org