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From 15 to 17 September 2015, 550 participants met in Oxford, the United Kingdom, for the UKFIET International Conference on Education and Development. In the context of the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which will highlight the need for social, economic and environmental sustainable futures, the Conference provided a platform for participants to reflect on the implications that this transition has for education and learning.
UNESCO-UNEVOC, together with the University of Nottingham, a UNEVOC Centre, convened five sessions under the sub-theme ‘Decent and Sustainable Work’. The sessions, chaired by Imke Kottmann, Programme Expert at UNESCO-UNEVOC, and Simon McGrath, Professor of International Education and Development at the University of Nottingham focused on a number of themes including the recognition of informal learning, the perceived value of skills and TVET, and TVET’s contribution in promoting human rights, social equity and empowerment. Each session was attended by 25 participants, among them Marcia Rowe-Amonde from the HEART Trust National Training Agency in Jamaica, a UNEVOC Centre, who presented on the perspectives of learners in TVET institutions in Jamaica.
The discussions advocated a broader understanding of TVET, one that moves away from solely viewing TVET as a means of training workforce for employment and economic growth, to one that also views it as a tool to equip people with skills for work and life, empowering them to become critical citizens and active contributors to sustainable development, social equity and inclusive societies.