Vol.35-No.04 April 1,1996
Sixth Basic Plan for Vocational Ability Development
On February 5, the Ministry of Labour presented its draft Sixth Basic Plan for Vocational Ability Development for the 5-year-period of 1996 to 2000 to the Central Vocational Ability Development Council, which approved the plan. In the Basic Plan draft, the Ministry sets forth, in view of changes in the labor supply-demand structure, its priorities for vocational ability development. These are support for an individual's ability development, consolidation of an ability evaluation system in order to respond adequately to the conversion of the industrial structure, as well as expanding new fields resulting from sophisticated information telecommunications and ongoing deregulation. The Ministry reported this Plan to a Cabinet and will publish it as its notification by this spring.
Among the areas to be addressed in the Plan, one of the priority issues for vocational ability development is "consolidation and substantiation of the vocational education system." The Lifelong Ability Development Center(tentatively named) will be opened in fiscal 1997 as a facility to offer vocational education for white-collar workers. This center will analyze the realities of white-collar jobs and develop, implement and spread "model" vocational training programs. In addition, the Plan strengthens measures to deal with matters involving white-collar workers by expansion and substantiation of the Business Career System (the vocational ability acquisition system) and promotion of career analysis and counseling.
Meanwhile, there are four areas of vocational ability development for working individuals. Under the Plan, the Ministry will "promote individual-based vocational ability development" as follows. First, help will be provided to individual workers enabling them to make up an "ability development plan" by provision of information and consultative services. Second, education and training opportunities will be expanded by consolidating systems of a variety of educational institutions. Third, help will be given to companies to improve their systems for voluntary vocational ability development through vacations, paid time off for education, during working hours and by providing expenses for vocational ability development programs.
The Plan also proposes that the government offer support for smaller-sized venture businesses. According to the Plan, it is necessary to make active use of "the Project for Fostering People at Small- and Medium-sized Firms" and support measures stipulated in "the Law for Securing Labor Force in Small- and Medium-sized Enterprises".
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