About the Colloquium

Curtin University Sarawak is proud to be hosting the 3rd International Skills Colloquium, building on earlier conferences held in Perth and Toulouse, in Miri on the beautiful island of Borneo.

Employability is ever more important and challenging in the context of globalisation and profound restructuring, which risk increasing the gap between skills supply and labour market demand. Ensuring the work readiness of graduates, both from higher education and vocational training, first requires accurate forecasting of jobs and skills, then adapting education and training to meet future needs.

Policy focus around the world on building a highly skilled workforce is predicated upon increased demand for higher skills with the emergence of the knowledge society, yet skills mismatches appear to be increasing in many regions. These mismatches reflect not only traditional deficits; skills gaps and shortages; but increasingly skills surpluses, where workers are over-qualified for the jobs they occupy.

While skills deficits are often seen as restraining productivity and competitiveness, growing evidence of skills surpluses suggests under-utilisation of skills that could contribute to raising performance if harnessed by different forms of work organisation. Equally, given that the majority of the future workforce is always already in the labour market, what can be done to develop skills and competences to maintain the employability and adaptability of existing employees through work and at work?

This conference provides a forum for discussing skills, employment and employability from different disciplinary perspectives (economics and business, employment relations, sociology and politics…), using a variety of methodological approaches. We are interested in conceptual and theoretical papers, as well as contributions focussed on policy and practice. We particularly welcome contributions with an international comparative dimension that are based on sound empirical research.

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