Published by: Olga Isakova
Published Date: August 01, 2022

Upskilling & reskilling for public sector: initiatives from around the world

CEO of Coursera, Jeff Maggioncalda, on Government’s workforce skills

Speaking at Learning Technologies conference in March 2022, CEO of Coursera Jeff Maggioncalda explained: “The future of work and the future of learning are convergent. Government use online programs to workforce development initiatives.

Governments are realising that future competitiveness of their economy depends on human capital in their country and the stability of regimes. If you want to stay in power, make your people happy. And happy people usually have good jobs.

“Governments are realising that skilling is a key to economic opportunities and the key to good government stability”

 So, the idea is that we got to use education to be globally competitive where people have jobs. And that means they are going to have proper set of skills to have those jobs”.

In a support of Jeff’s words, we could see several national governments’ initiatives around world where reskilling and upskilling of their workforce and public takes a new level.

The case of Abu Dhabi in building the most in-demand skills

The Abu Dhabi School of Government (ADSG) has announced the launch of the ‘Future Shapers’ programme, which seeks to unlock the digital career and leadership potential of Abu Dhabi employees. This initiative was launched with the aim of building the most in-demand skills for the next generation of leaders in Abu Dhabi. Abu Dhabi Next Generation includes:

  • Coursera Data Science Academy: Launched for Abu Dhabi youth with a focus on building the next generation of data scientists, to develop the skills in data science, data analysis, and artificial intelligence. The program will also teach learners how to apply basic data skills in jobs across various sectors. 
  • Nanodegree Program: Launched in partnership with Udacity, learners can obtain nanodegrees in business analytics and digital marketing.
  • Virtual Training Summer Camp: Launched in partnership with IBM, the virtual training summer camp empowers youth with access to IBM’s Digital Nation Platform to explore emerging technologies, build digital solutions, and develop the next generation of digital leaders.

Case Study: Canadian CanCode in STEM subjects

Canada’s CanCode program is an innovative upskilling agenda initiated by the Government of Canada to prepare young Canadians for careers in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) fields, and to help them to stay competitive in the future. Key subjects are coding, computational thinking, data analysis, app development and robotics. The project also aims to be accusable for populations that are underrepresented in STEM: females, minorities, indigenous persons, those with disabilities and people in remote communities. 

Case Study: Finland’s National AI strategy and skills for public sector

In the last decade Finland has been a leader in the field of AI with applications in various sectors of business, society and public. To further encourage its AI strategy on national level, the University of Helsinki partnered with Reaktor Education to design “Elements of AI,” a free online course on AI concepts, their societal implications and the building of AI systems.  students from 170 countries have enrolled for the programme, with 25% of applicants over the age of 45 and more than 40% of programme’s participants being women.

The course aims to break down barriers, giving opportunities to participants to be a part of the AI community.

How have other governments reacted to the challenge of retraining employees? How do they identify digital leaders and create a culture for developing digital competencies? What are some good examples of employee development and retraining strategies? What are the key priorities and challenges for 2022?
On August 17, at the webinar ” L&D in Public Sector: key priorities & challenges for 2022″, special guests and invited experts will try to answer these questions.

Case Study: Design thinking and user-centred approaches in Latvia

Design thinking and user-centred principles have shown to be priority skills for designing and launching effective government services and products. However, in order for them to work, governments need to be able to see, understand and interact with the individuals and businesses that their work impacts.

Realising that this represented a challenge in Latvia, the government authorities designed the programme “An Official Shadows an Entrepreneur” to help public officials:

  • step into the shoes of entrepreneurs
  • get new insights into their operations
  • acquire new user-centricity skills

Beneficial for both business owners and government, the collaboration offer businesses the chane to access advice and present to public authorities the chance to better understand how their work and decisions affect beneficiaries of government services.

The programme made it possible for Latvian entrepreneurs to new ways of interacting with the government, and Government of Latvia officials believe that the initiative constitutes an excellent basis for improving the entrepreneurship environment in the country. 

While key initiatives are underway by governments around the globe, there are still ways to take these initiatives even further:

  • to address gaps in skills
  • to include more under-represented groups (females in STEM subjects, ethnic minorities)
  • to reskill workers whose jobs are at risk of automation


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