Overview of the Portuguese approach
The Qualification Needs Anticipation System (Sistema de Antecipação de Necessidades de Qualificação, SANQ) is the core of the skills anticipation approach in Portugal. It is coordinated by the ANQEP, a government agency jointly supervised by the Ministry of Education (Ministério da Educação) and the Ministry of Labour, Solidarity and Social Security (Ministério do Trabalho, Solidariedade e Segurança Social).
SANQ’s main contribution has been statistical information on labour market trends over the past five years, and information on skills needs derived from an employer survey. (9) Based on the analysis of data inputs mentioned above, the SANQ has developed a model that has three major outputs, which are made available online as part of ANQEP’s Portal of Qualifications. This is organised in the following three ‘modules’:
The Diagnostics Module (Módulo de Diagnóstico de Base) combines analysis of past and future trends in employment by qualification with analysis of the skills needs of employers, taking into consideration the regional dimension (at NUTS II level);
The Planning Module (Módulo de Planeamento) pays particular attention to the supply of, and demand for, courses over the past four years. It provides analysis for actors in the education and training system to support the identification and prioritisation of training needs for planning purposes; and
The Module for Regional Consolidation (Módulo de Aprofundamento Regional) applies the outputs of modules i and ii (outlined above) to the regional level. The regional dimension is coordinated by Inter-Municipal Communities (Comunidades Intermunicipais, CIM). (10)
This third module is designed to mobilise local stakeholders to participate in planning and implementation. The outputs of the Planning Module are assessed by local stakeholders in processes coordinated by CIM that can lead to the revision of guidance regarding the provision of education and training at regional level.
The SANQ is used by various interested parties including policymakers. It has a direct impact on the provision of VET. On the basis of the criteria and priorities produced by the SANQ, the institutional actors involved in VET decide upon VET provision. The Ministry of Education through the Directorate-General of School Establishments (Direção-Geral dos Estabelecimentos Escolares, DGEstE) develops a map of VET course provision for mainland Portugal that becomes mandatory for VET in public secondary schools. It is also the basis for negotiation between the Ministry of Education and private vocational schools (Escolas Profissionais). The centres for vocational training that fall under the auspices of the Ministry of Labour – the Institute of Employment and Vocational Training (Instituto de Emprego e Formação Profissional) network – base their training offer on their own list of priorities. Nevertheless, this is also influenced by the outputs of the SANQ.
The current policy is to create processes for skills anticipation which are responsive to skills demand in the labour market. This is important in the Portuguese context as research has shown that bringing about a match between the supply of, and the demand for, training is a major challenge for the VET system. (11),(12) Skills anticipation, as coordinated by the ANQEP, is closely linked to the VET system through which young people and jobseekers acquire the skills needed by the labour market. In this respect, the ANQEP aims to establish a model of vocational guidance that is suitable for the profiles, interests and expectations of students and jobseekers. (13)
Currently the process of skills anticipation is based solely on the SANQ, which has been developed by the ANQEP in compliance with national legislation. (14) Qualifications are regulated by a National Catalogue of Qualifications (Catálogo Nacional de Qualificações, CNQ) within the framework of the National Qualification System (Sistema Nacional de Qualificações, SNQ). (15)
The governance and funding of skills anticipation lies primarily with the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Labour, Solidarity and Social Security. Each ministry individually engages in skills anticipation (either directly or indirectly), but in some cases the two ministries share jurisdiction. The responsibility for the ANQEP, which principally runs the SANQ, is shared between the two ministries. Key stakeholders taking part in skills anticipation exercises include the social partners (trade unions, employer associations, etc.), regional authorities, and international organisations such as the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) (16) and the International Labour Organization (ILO).
The ANQEP is a key actor in skills anticipation in Portugal, as the regulator of the VET system and the implementer of public policy on adult education and training. The ANQEP fulfils a responsibility to provide nationwide skills information by undertaking skills forecasting, assessments and foresight exercises. In 2015, the ANQEP created the SANQ. The SANQ is the ANQEP’s main anticipation instrument and covers mainland Portugal where 95 per cent of the country’s population lives.
The role of stakeholders
Broadly, the main actors involved in education and employment policies, which also make use of the results of skills anticipation activity, are:
The Ministry of Education, the governing body with the authority to run the national school system, guides and controls private schools and defines legally binding standards for the VET system. Inside the Ministry, the DGEstE plays a central role in funding the education and training network, with the exception of the apprenticeship system, which is under control of the national PES;
The Institute for Employment and Vocational Training (Instituto de Emprego e Formação Profissional, IEFP) is the national PES with responsibilities for employment policy and training (namely, the apprenticeship system, and training for the unemployed). The IEFP is a public body under the control of the Ministry of Labour, Solidarity and Social Security.
The principal stakeholders participate in skills anticipation at the national, sectoral and regional/local levels. A detailed list of stakeholders is given in section “Target groups’ uses of skills anticipation outputs“ listed below are the different levels at which they engage in skills anticipation.
At the national level, a Coordinating Council, with the participation of employer associations and trade union representatives, the national PES (IEFP), and the Agency for Development and Cohesion (Agência para o Desenvolvimento e Coesão), coordinates the implementation of European Funds, the ILO, and the ANQEP. Together these organisations monitor and evaluate the SANQ’s work.
At the sectoral level, there are 16 Sectoral Councils for Qualification (Conselhos Setoriais para a Qualificação, CSQ), in which ministries, social partners, companies, VET providers, technology centres, competent authorities (regulatory authorities and/or certification authorities) and independent experts participate.
At the regional/local level, there are the 25 CIMs representing local authorities. Some of the outputs delivered by the SANQ are locally-focused and are used by regional and local stakeholders in the CIMs to influence implementation of local VET supply.
These stakeholders jointly help to formulate the strategic objectives of skills anticipation with guidance from the ANQEP.
The ANQEP is the organisation most directly involved with skills anticipation. The ANQEP involves a broad range of stakeholders in its General Council, with representatives from several ministries (Education, Labour and Social affairs, Regional Development), the national PES, two bodies linked to the Ministry of Economy, employer associations, the trade unions, the National Association of Municipalities, the Association of Polytechnic Institutes, and the National Association of Vocational Schools (Associação Nacional de Escolas Profissionais, ANESPO). The involvement of these stakeholders in the ANQEP is designed to build capacity to further develop the activities of the SANQ, the ANQEP’s main anticipation instrument. In turn, the SANQ is monitored by a Coordinating Council, which validates its results, and is composed of representatives from the following institutions:
IEFP – Employment and Vocational Training Institute
ADC – Agency for Development and Cohesion, responsible for the coordination of European Funds (Agência para o Desenvolvimento e Coesão)
CGTP-IN – General Confederation of Portuguese Workers (Confederação Geral dos Trabalhadores Portugueses – Intersindical Nacional)
UGT – General Workers’ Union (União Geral de Trabalhadores)
CIP – Entrepreneurial Confederation of Portugal (Confederação Empresarial de Portugal)
CAP – Confederation of Farmers of Portugal (Confederação dos Agricultores de Portugal)
CCP – Confederation of Commerce and Services of Portugal (Confederação do Comércio e Serviços de Portugal)
CTP – Confederation of Portuguese Tourism (Confederação do Turismo Português)
The importance of stakeholders is also signalled by their membership in the Coordinating Council where they monitor, advise and validate the activities of the SANQ. This Council not only fosters the active involvement of stakeholders in the government’s approach to skills anticipation, but also encompasses a wide range of stakeholders (the social partners, employers, other public institutions and inter-municipal communities), touching upon several economic sectors and interest groups.
Outputs from the SANQ – and skills anticipation exercises in general – are intended for a broad range of users. These include policymakers (the DGEstE, CIMs, and the IEFP), the Centres for Qualification and Vocational Education (Centros para a Qualificação e o Ensino Profissional, CQEP), young people, employers, social partners, intermediaries such as careers advisers, and jobseekers.
Funding and resources
No specific budget is dedicated to skills anticipation. The SANQ is funded by the government through the ANQEP, the Ministry of Education, and the Ministry of Labour, Solidarity and Social Security. In the past the government has also funded specific initiatives related to skills anticipation use such as the creation of the Integrated System of Information and Management of Education and Training Offer (Sistema de Informação e Gestāo da Oferta Educativa e Formativa, SIGO) in 2007.
Funding for other skills anticipation exercises is often arranged by the organisation undertaking the exercise – for example, the OECD. The ANQEP also provides career and professional guidance services through its management of the CQEPs which were created in 2013. The CQEPs are co-funded by the ESF.
At least two major studies related to the production of labour market intelligence were co-financed under the Technical Assistance Operational Programme for the period 2007-2013 (17): Portugal 2020 – Anticipation of qualification and competence needs (Antecipação de Necessidades de Qualificações e Competências), (18) and a study on regional evaluation of skills needs part-financed by the ESF. (19)