The Challenge: Better skills, better jobs, better lives

Skills are the new currency. Skills are central to the capacity of countries and people to thrive in an increasingly interconnected and rapidly changing world. Digitalisation, globalisation, climate and demographic change are reshaping work and social environments as well as generating a growing demand for higher levels of non-routine, cognitive skills and new types of skills.
This tidal wave has generated fears about the capacity of populations to adapt rapidly and about the risk that some groups will be left behind. These threats can only be turned into opportunities for well-being and good social outcomes for all if countries adopt an inclusive and life course approach to skills development. People have to be able to re-skill and up-skill throughout their lives, so that they can adjust to the rapid changes, as well as seize new opportunities, in the workplace and in their everyday life.
Making sure that the digital transformation leads to better jobs and better lives will depend on a range of policies, with skills policies being paramount. Skills systems need to be redesigned, so that they equip people with the mix of skills they need throughout their lives, as digitalisation transforms the way people work, communicate, and interact with each otherand changes the nature of economies. Governments need to understand the nature of these changes, and how to implement the right policies to ensure that digitalisation promotes sustainable and inclusive growth, and empowers people with the capacity to prosper in a rapidly evolving environment.


The Skills Summit 2018 will convene ministers with responsibility for a range of skills-relevant portfolios, including education, higher education, vocational education and training, employment, science and innovation, economic development and the digital agenda. The Summit will foster open discussion about what countries are doing to ensure that their citizens have the skills they need to participate fully and effectively in a digital world and what governments are doing to redesign their polices and institutions to be more responsive to the challenges and opportunities of a digital world.
Ministers will have an opportunity to share with each other what they are doing now, and what more they plan to do into the future, to work together across their different portfolios to ensure that people have the skills to succeed in a digital world.


The Prime Minister of Portugal, the Minister of Education of Portugal and the OECD Secretary-General are extending an invitation to ministers from OECD Member countries as well as to OECD accession and key partner countries.


Each session will start with OECD scene-setting presentations to provide key information data about skills and digitalisation. Plenary discussions will then take place among ministers, moderated by Gavin Dykes. Chatham House rules will be in effect to ensure open and frank communication. The main highlights of the discussions will be published in the form of a Chair’s Summary.

Where and when

Porto, Portugal, on 28-29 June 2018.


12:00 - 20:00

Registration at the Porto Palacio Hotel

18:30 - 20:00

Cocktail reception

Hosted by the City Mayor of Porto

Opening addresses and welcome of participants

Mr. Rui Moreira, City Mayor of Porto
Mr. Tiago Brandão Rodrigues, Minister of Education of Portugal
Mr. Angel Gurría, OECD Secretary-General

Musical moment

Conservatório de Música do Porto(Porto School of Music)


08:00 - 08:45

Registration at the Porto Palacio Hotel Congress

09:00 - 09:30

Opening plenary - Welcome by the Chair and Setting the Scene(Public Session)

Mr. Tiago Brandão Rodrigues, Minister of Education of Portugal
Mr. Angel Gurría, OECD Secretary-General
Ms. Manuela Geleng, Acting Director of Social Affairs of DG Employment(European Commission)
09:35 - 10:00

Digital Skills in Practice

Agrupamento de Escolas de Ponte de Lima (Schools Cluster of Ponte de Lima)
Agrupamento de Escolas D. Afonso Henriques - Guimarães (Schools Cluster of D. Afonso Henriques)
10:05 - 10:25

Coffee-break/ Press Point

10:30 - 12:00

SESSION 1: UNDERSTAND – Risks and opportunities in a digital world: the changing landscape of skills needs

Chairperson: Mr. Manuel Caldeira Cabral, Minister of Economy of Portugal


Build a common understanding of how the digital revolution transforms economies and societies, how the skills that people need in everyday life and in the workplace are changing, and which groups of the population are most at risk of being left behind

OECD presentations:

Ms. Gabriela Ramos, OECD Chief of Staff, G20 Sherpa, and Special Counsellor to the Secretary-General: Inclusive growth in the digital age.

Mr. Andy Wyckoff, OECD Director of Science, Technology and Innovation: Ensuring growth, productivity and well-being in the face of the digital transformation.

Questions for discussion:

  • What has been the most important impact of digitalisation in your country? Are there major differences across sectors or regions? To what extent are the current skills of the population meeting the new demands?

  • What skills will people need to be resilient in a changing economy, actively engage in democratic processes, and behave as critical consumers and active producers of information and media content?

  • What role should education, training systems and skills policies play to take advantage of the opportunities of digitalisation and help its challenges, especially for the most vulnerable? What role should the public and the private sector play in meeting these challenges?

12:05 - 13:05


13:10 - 13:25

Photographic session – group photo

13:30 - 15:00

SESSION 2: DESIGN – Rethinking education and lifelong learning policies

Chairperson: Ms. Fernanda Rollo, Secretary of State for Science, Technology and Higher Education of Portugal


Discuss how education and skills policies need to be redesigned to make the most of the digital transformation; discuss whether digitalisation is creating the need to adopt a lifelong learning approach to skills development.

OECD presentations:

Mr. Andreas Schleicher, OECD Director for Education and Skills: Learning approaches for the 21st century

Questions for discussion:

  • What policies is your government implementing to strike the right balance between formal and “front-loaded” education and training systems and “lifelong” and “life-wide” learning systems, where people can learn at all ages and in different contexts?

  • What policies can help to equip people with “21st century” skills, including digital skills?

  • What are the key obstacles to implementing lifelong, life-wide, flexible learning for all, and what solutions has your government developed to address them?

  • How does your government promote the use of digital technologies to make learning more flexible and relevant to new needs?

15:05 - 15:15


15:20 - 16:50

SESSION 3: IMPLEMENT – Towards better skills policies for tomorrow’s world

Chairperson: Mr. José António Vieira da Silva, Minister for Labour, Solidarity and Social Security of Portugal


Discuss the major challenges in the implementation of education and skills policies raised by the digital transformation, identify contentious issues and how they can be solved, and agree on specific actions

OECD presentations:

Mr. Stefano Scarpetta, OECD Director for Employment, Labour and Social Affairs: Strengthening governance in the collection and use of information on skills needs

Ms. Montserrat Gomendio, OECD Deputy Director for Education and Skills & Head of the Skills Centre: A coordinated approach to skills issues: the OECD Centre for Skills

Questions for discussion:

  • Should lifelong and life-wide learning require a new approach to financing education and skills, including re-thinking how much should be invested at each stage, which trade-offs exist and who should invest?

  • What are governments and social partners doing to strengthen lifelong learning and to remove obstacles to further learning, especially to promote universal access to basic skills for disadvantaged populations and minority groups?

  • How can governments develop a policy package including skills development, lifelong learning, support for worker deployment and improved social protection?

  • What governance systems could better involve all key actors, inside and outside government, to tackle sticky skills issues, such as improving the recognition of skills developed informally over the life cycle?

16:55 - 17:10


17:15 - 18:00

Closing Plenary Session

Chairperson: Mr. Tiago Brandão Rodrigues, Minister of Education of Portugal
  • Final tour de table
  • Concluding statements
18:05 - 18:30

Final Addresses(Public Session)

Mr. Angel Gurría, OECD Secretary-General
Mr. Augusto Santos Silva, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Portugal

Departure by bus to the Summit reception and dinner

19:30 - 22:30

Summit reception and dinner – Palácio da Bolsa

Hosted by the Government of Portugal

Coktail reception

Musical moment – Conservatório de Música de Coimbra(Coimbra School of Music)

Summit social dinner

Musical Moment

Fado singer – Cristina Branco

Transfer to the Porto Palácio Hotel

António Costa

Prime Minister of Portugal

“Just with truly skilled citizens we will be able to reach the indispensable long-run strategy: a country – and a world – in which social cohesion and a prosperous economic growth are assured and guaranteed.”

Tiago Brandão Rodrigues

Minister of Education of Portugal

"To be in the digital world and to appropriately build it actually demands us the ability to predict and anticipate today the unknown needs of tomorrow. That’s why we are obliged so urgently to do it together."

Angel Gurría

Secretary-General of the OECD

"Skills Summit 2018 will be an important milestone in our collective pursuit to ensure that skills and the digital transformation lead to better jobs and better lives."


Skills Summit’18 Porto
Opening Session – Welcome video
Skills Summit’18 Porto
Welcome Message
Tiago Brandão Rodrigues
Minister of Education of Portugal


Flash Interview
Andreas Schleicher
OECD Director for Education and Skills
Flash Interview
Anna Ekstrom
Minister for Adult Education and Training of Sweden
Flash Interview
Rustem Bigari
Vice-Minister of Education and Science of Kazakhstan


Flash Interview
Allan Hawkins
Minister of Advanced Education Skills and Labour of Canada
Flash Interview
Hilde Crevits
Vice-Minister-President of the Government of Flanders & Flemish Minister for Education
Flash Interview
Tiago Brandão Rodrigues
Minister of Education of Portugal



Photo Credits: Miguel Nogueira



Please find below some frequently asked questions regarding the organisation of the 2018 Skills Summit to be held in Porto, Portugal, on 28-29 June 2018.
We plan to update these FAQs on a regular basis.


Please contact the OECD Secretariat for guidance.

A. Late registrations will be possible but without guarantee of accommodation at the Summit venue. Please contact the OECD Secretariat for guidance.


A. Yes. Under the Chatham House rule, any comments made during the meeting may not be attributed to specific countries or speakers.


A. Dietary requirements can be specified when registering on the 2018 Skills Summit website.

A. Bilateral meetings are organised by countries between themselves. A meeting room will be available in the Hotel Conference Centre which can be booked by delegations in advance by contacting skillssummit2018@medu.gov.pt

A. All travel arrangements will be made by countries at their own expense.

A. A welcome service will be arranged for participants arriving at Porto airport based on the flight information provided when registering on the 2018 Skills Summit website.

A. Rooms in the hotel where the meeting is taking place are booked for participants registered on the 2018 Skills Summit website, until April 30th.


School partners

Schools Cluster of D. Afonso Henriques(Guimarães)

Schools Cluster of Ponte de Lima

Schools Cluster of Vialonga (Vila Franca de Xira)

Coimbra School of Music

Porto School of Music

Soares dos Reis School of Arts (Porto)

Skills Summit 2018 logo created by a student of Soares dos Reis School of Arts

In the scope of the organization of the Skills Summit 2018 the Portuguese Minister of Education challenged the students of Soares dos Reis School of Arts to create the logo of the conference that will be held in Porto, on June 28th and 29th. The image identifies the official site of the conference and will be part of all of the conference’s materials.

"Bearing in mind the goals set for Skills Summit 2018, I developed my logo by exploring the concept of ideas, represented by the shape of the lamp, and the design of dot interconnections, symbolizing a network of digital skills that will enable innovation and human development in the digital world." Tatiana Maia, 17 years old, Communication Design course of Soares dos Reis School of Arts, Porto.

Soares dos Reis School of Arts has been teaching Arts in Porto for 133 years. It currently offers a set of nine secondary education courses in Specialized Artistic Education in the areas of Visual Arts and Audiovisual Communication, as well as several Professional courses in the same areas. For further information: www.essr.net




Contact Us

Email: skillssummit2018@medu.gov.pt

Phone: (+351) 217 811 800



Porto is nowadays one of the trendiest European destinations. The city is, at the same time, contemporary and cosmopolitan and it is a great place to walk, explore and discover. On every corner you will find examples of the most diverse architectural styles and fall in love with a city where the charm of other centuries blends with the best that our modern days have to offer. Read More...

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Congress, Hotel and Spa

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