Decent work, Equity and Inclusion. Password for the present and the future

Presentation

This Congress is a call to action.  Decent work.  Equity.  Inclusion. These are the key passwords that must guide our present and future career and workforce development efforts.

Economists point to advances in technology (e.g., digitalization, robotics, artificial intelligence, 3D-printing, eCommerce, etc.) as the single biggest threat to the continued existence of many vocations and occupations, - what many refer to as “Work 4.0.”  From the end of the last century to the present, citizens throughout the world have experienced tremendous economic growth and increased life expectancy.

Despite these advances, the first quarter of this century has witnessed a number of global crises impacting access to decent work including large scale immigration from refugees escaping poverty and war torn communities, climate change in the wake of increased pollution brought about in part fast moving industrialization, diminishing natural resources, and the need for more access to quality shelter, food and clean water. 

There are words and expressions emblematically used by our mass media every day to alert us about the way we are shaping our present and future: work 4.0, globalization, digitalization, poverty, epidemics and pandemics, terrorism, walls, risks, diversity, speed and acceleration, change, transitions, competition, innovation, precariousness, ethical and civil economy, welfare, etc.

A wide range of career and workforce development perspectives are needed to join forces in identifying pathways for collective action. At a minimum, we need scholars and policy-makers from counseling, vocational guidance, career education, economics, sociology, anthropology, education, as well as others engaged in identifying innovative and economic development strategies that help all individuals gain access to decent work.

If no effective countermeasures are taken to generously and decisively invest in the decency and inclusiveness of work and the quality of relevant education and support systems, we risk growing social exclusion and division.  The concern is that such exclusion and division will most certainly have a negative impact on the wellbeing of individuals and communities alike. 

This collective action must be grounded in genuinely social and inclusive values while proposing bold strategies for increasing access to lifelong education, training and employment that complement and are responsive to the European Union 2020 strategy, the United Nations’ 2030 agenda for sustainable development, and recommendations from the International Labor Organization (ILO).   Unless we renew, redesign, and innovate our education, labor and social support systems, we risk creating a world in which only a privileged few will benefit from the well-being and self-determination that result from gaining access to decent work.

Our aim is to create a stimulating international, multi- and interdisciplinary debate and discussion on the theoretical and methodological approaches, resources, instruments, applications and professional communities that must be considered as we design strategies to improve access to decent work for all.  This conversation must identify the constraining conditions and propose solutions to serious inequities and barriers to full inclusion that continue to affect whole communities as well as key demographic groups within our communities.

Such collective action presents us with a number of challenges to how we have typically worked.  We who are in professions that promote the wellbeing and the future of individuals and communities will need to forge new visions for the future of our disciplines.  We must identify career and workforce development solutions that reflect a deeper understanding of the pressing issues, challenges and opportunities.  And, we must develop our own competencies and be willing to establish collaborative interdisciplinary networks that enable us to design and implement efforts that address the complexity of the challenges and opportunities associated with ensuring access to decent work for all.

Further, we must identify and communicate innovative solutions and disseminate quality practices to significantly reduce the number of individuals who are at risk of exclusion from work, from education and training, from community, or that might have their active citizenship drastically decreased or even denied.

Dealing with all these issues is urgent, because the inequalities that we are witnessing between countries and between individuals may increase even further.

In particular, we will focus our attention on three interdependent pathways:

  1. Examine changes currently underway in the world of work and their consequences for the inclusion of everyone in the educational, labor and social systems and for the vision of an ethical and social economy;
  2. Propose ...the ‘ethical and social’ economy, the supports to give access a decent job to all and the experiences many social enterprises daily strive to include the most vulnerable in the world of work; gift economy; informal economy
  3. Identify innovative evidence-based and interdisciplinary strategies for designing, implementing, and evaluating individual and large-scale solutions that build capacity among professionals and organizations to provide quality career and workforce development services. 

These pathways will be examined in depth in dedicated symposia, which shall each investigate particularly crucial issues, revolving around what may be considered as Passwords for the Future”:

- Training and certification of competences of career service providers;
Vocational guidance and career counseling strategies that redress inequality and access to decent work;
Role of career development in supporting access to decent work forimmigrants;
Collaborative strategies for designing career development programs that focus onwellbeing and inclusion;
Privileges associated Work 4.0: Who is in and who is left out?;
Life skills for a future of quality;
Meritocracy, competitiveness and solidarity;
Career development as a driver for positive youth and adult development;
Collaborative strategies for implementing career development programs and services that promote inclusion and access to dignified work;
Career development in countries with high informal work opportunities;
Access to decent jobs and the impact of poverty;
Social enterprises, collaboratives, and non-profits in favor of work inclusion;
Career guidance of quality in favor of work inclusion for all;
Resources and portfolios for professional planning;
Flexibility and motivation to change;
Developments and innovations for a future of quality;
Multi- and inter-disciplinarity at the service of wellbeing and inclusion;
Ethical economy and inclusion; Generative welfare; Diversity management;
Psychological coaching; Spirituality and values;
Assessment of inclusion and work satisfaction;
Flexicurity;
Universal Basic Income and others.