Due to the increase in types of work other than standard employment and fragmentation of careers, new challenges have come up for training policies. Individual learning accounts received a lot of attention from the policymakers as they make the training flexible and portable from one employment status or job to another. A report from OECD examines past individual learning accounts based on the review of case studies and existing literature and helps in developing guidance for the policymakers.
Significantly, the only approach that can boost training participation from the individuals in the changing world of work is the French ‘Compte Personnel de Formation’. And, it is the only learning account that has been implemented. This report from OECD looks at the individual learning schemes (ILS), including individual learning accounts, individual savings accounts and vouchers.
The OECD report focuses more on Individual Learning Schemes. These are nothing but training schemes attached to individuals. The training can be undertaken at any time as they are always at the disposal of the individuals. There are three kinds of such schemes:
- Individual Savings Accounts for Training- In this type, the resources can be gathered by the individuals for further training. The individuals also get various kinds of support from public authorities.
- Individual Learning Accounts- In this type, the individuals can accumulate the rights for training over a period of time. The resources will only be used if the individuals undertake training and pay for it.
- Voucher Schemes- In this type, the training is supported through government payments to the individuals. Most of the individual learning schemes are called individual learning accounts but they function as vouchers.
The objective of individual learning schemes is to increase choice and responsibility of an individual. Another common objective of all schemes is to encourage access for people, who are less skilled, have low or no access to training or working in small enterprises. All the individual learning schemes have some rules and regulations on the training type that individuals can choose. Individuals can choose formal training or non-formal training.
The report has given some conclusions after analyzing various individual learning schemes. According to them, if the policymakers want effective participation of people in training, they need to keep it simple. Many countries have already simplified the processes involved. Financial support should also be higher for promoting participation. It is important to reduce the deadweight losses and this can be done by targeting individuals or groups. This will also decrease the bias against low-skilled individuals. They should also take measures in increasing the participation of under-represented groups. Many schemes don’t consider training provided by the employer. The link between both types of training should be considered. Quality assurance should also be reinforced in training-related schemes.
Individual learning schemes can increase the access to training for individuals, who get less training from their employer or don’t have access to training, by giving training rights to them. ILS, by attaching training rights to workers instead of jobs, even make training rights transferable between jobs.