The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) on Wednesday unveiled the next step of a plan aimed at building “resilient, adaptable, and future-ready human resources” in member states over the next decade.

The Roadmap of ASEAN Declaration on Human Resources Development for the Changing World of Work was launched by labor and education ministers of member states in an online conference hosted by Vietnam, current chair of the bloc.

In his address, Dao Ngoc Dung, Vietnam’s labor minister, stressed the importance of human resource development to boost labor productivity and regional competitiveness.

“Human resource development is a long-term goal and guideline for the development of the ASEAN community as stated in the ASEAN Charter,” said the minister.

“In a rapidly changing world, ASEAN always gives priority to putting people at its core of development because the main goal of sustainable growth is human development.”

The roadmap builds on a declaration adopted during the 36th ASEAN Summit in June and proposes “concrete strategies and actions,” according to a statement from the bloc.

“It is expected to guide ASEAN sectoral bodies on labor, education, and relevant stakeholders in their cooperation and coordination for the next decade to build resilient, adaptable and future-ready human resources,” read the statement.

Lim Jock Hoi, secretary general of the organization, emphasized the importance of regional commitment to human resource development, especially in the post-pandemic era.

He emphasized the need to focus on both general education and vocational training, terming the latter essential “to ensure job opportunities in the digital world and improve the quality of labor forces.”

The event also saw the launch of the ASEAN Council on Vocational Education, which aims to strengthen collaboration between companies and industries.

The council will formulate policy recommendations to improve the quality of vocational education and offer more opportunities for vulnerable groups, such as people with disabilities, rural residents, and ethnic minorities.

* Writing by Maria Elisa Hospita from Anadolu Agency’s Indonesian-language service in Jakarta

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