Assessing Skills in the Economy

  • Three steps are required to assess and address skills gaps: (1) document knowledge and skills required; (2) assess the extent to which colleges are positioned to provide industry with appropriately skilled workers, and; (3) identify collaborative strategies and practices that connect employers with educators.
  • Factors such as basic literacy and lack of technical education often prove challenging for extractive industry companies, particularly at early stages of sector and project development. 
  • While trades people such as plumbers, electricians, and carpenters, are needed by all mining and oil and gas projects, technical and vocational training is often underfunded in many developing countries.  
  • UNESCO has developed the International Standard Classification of Education (ISCED) to make education statistics comparable across countries, while the OECD-coordinated Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) is probably the most well-known international assessment of learning outcomes.
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[1] UNESCO Institute for Statistics, International Standard Classification of Education, (Montreal: UNESCO, 2011)

Key Resources

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International Standard Classification of Education (ISCED)

The site contains the latest version of the International Standard Classification of Education (ISCED), which is a framework for measuring ...

Local Content Strategy: A Guidance Document for the Oil and Gas Industry

This document is a practical guide to understanding and delivering local content in relation to oil and gas projects. Regulatory frameworks ...

Measuring Education: What Data is Available?

A comprehensive inventory of the data available worldwide on educational metrics. It is useful to those looking for robust metrics to ...

Global Education Monitoring Report, Statistical Tables

This resource offers a comprehensive inventory of the worldwide data available on educational metrics. This resource may be of particular ...

Local Content. Case Studies

The case studies included offer examples of good practice in accomplishing local content development. Key areas of focus include skills ...

Global Education Monitoring Report, Statistical Tables

A comprehensive inventory of the data available worldwide on educational metrics. It is useful to those looking for robust metrics to ...

Topic Briefing

The challenge of connecting employers and educators to collaboratively plan for training future workers is an enduring one—particularly for jobs that are rapidly changing because of technological advancements.

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Three steps are required to assess and address skills gaps: (1) document the knowledge and skills required by employers in the oil and natural gas industry; (2) assess the extent to which colleges are positioned to provide employers in the oil, gas and mining industry with workers who have appropriate knowledge and skills for high-priority occupations, and (3) identify collaborative strategies and practices in place that connect employers in the oil and natural gas industry with educators.

Broad aggregated data is a useful place to begin the analysis and often provides indications of gaps, for instance, in basic literacy or lack of technical education. These two factors often prove most challenging to extractive industry companies, particularly at early stages of sector and project development. Even jobs that require no particular skills do require basic literacy - for instance, employees have to be able to read warning signs.

Likewise, tradespeople such as plumbers, electricians, and carpenters, are needed by all mining and oil and gas projects. However, the level of competence of people who have passed through local vocational schools may still not meet the requirements of extractive industry companies, which often must carry out extensive training of their employees. Nevertheless, in many developing economies, technical and vocational training is often underfunded.  

Because educational systems differ substantially across countries, it is often difficult to compare national levels of educational attainment. To overcome this challenge, UNESCO designed the International Standard Classification of Education (ISCED) to make education statistics comparable across countries. The Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), which is coordinated by the OECD, is probably the most well-known international assessment of learning outcomes. Focusing on three main dimensions (science literacy, reading literacy, and mathematical literacy) the PISA aims to "assess the application of skills to real-life problems" and "emphasizes the importance of the context in which students should be able to use their skills (schools, home and society)".[1]

The International Standard Classification of Education (ISCED) and other guidance tools and resources on methods to measure skills in a given economy can be found in the key resources below.