Statistical, Economic and Social Research and Training Centre for Islamic Countries (SESRIC) was represented in the International Conference on “Innovation in Skills Development for SMEs Competitiveness” in Ankara, Turkey on 14 December 2012 by Dr. Umut Ünal, Researcher, and Mr. Efe Kerem Aydin, Research Assistant.
The conference was jointly organised by the Small and Medium Size Enterprises Development Organisation (KOSGEB) and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Local Economic and Employment Development (LEED) Programme. and attended by representatives from stakeholders in the area: policy-makers, public institutions, private organizations, business representatives, SMEs, social partners (Trade Unions), non-government organizations, universities, training providers, and regional clusters and networks; representatives from firms, particularly those with responsibility for human resources and innovation; training, skills and employment development experts from local organisations and industry and academics and experts on training, skills development, human capital development, local development, private sector development and local governance.
The conference presented the results of a project on Leveraging Training and Skills Development in SMES. The study examined access to training by SMEs across seven regions in six OECD countries. The seven regions participating in the project were East Flanders (Belgium), the industrial zone OSTIM in Ankara (Turkey), Canterbury (New Zealand), the Zaglebie sub-region (Poland), the West Midlands region (United Kingdom), and Quebec and Manitoba in Canada.
Key policy and research issues addressed at the conference included:
- SMEs use both formal and informal training but they get better outcomes from informal training through use of knowledge intensive service activities (KISA). Significant variations exist across regions and employee skill levels.
- Training for highly skilled employees focused on productivity-enhancing skills (e.g. technical and management skills, entrepreneurship), and, to the extent that they are undertaken at all, green skills. This applies to both manufacturing and service firms.
- Market forces are the main drivers for skills development in firms, particularly informal skills development. They result from in-house demands arising from product development or production needs, or as the result of financial adjustments.
- “Growth potential” SMEs are most likely to take up opportunities in the green economy. Highly innovative firms are more likely to participate in innovative activity for the “green” economy, and also have a stronger focus on entrepreneurial skills.
- Best practices among OECD Countries such as Turkey’s “Skill’ 10” project which has been transformed into Skill Development for Youth Employment (SDYE) project by SESRIC under the framework of OIC-VET Programme in order to contribute to the solution of the unemployment problem through improving necessary skills for the current labour market.