WCC Expert Interview: Colombian PES

On the sidelines of the NASWA International Workforce Development Week in Washington DC in November 2019, WCC arranged an interview between Miguel Peromingo, independent Public Labor Market expert, and Angi Velasquez, Director of the Public Employment Service of Colombia. The interview touched on some surprising and unique features of the Colombian public employment landscape.

In the interview, Ms. Velasquez compares the Colombian Public Employment landscape with that of other countries. Unlike most Public Employment Services (PES), the Colombian PES comprises both private and public organizations. In total, the network comprises 250 service providers with more than 700 points of contact. Given this diversity, it is not surprising that establishing a common strategy within the network has proven difficult.

Because the Colombian labor market consists mainly of small and medium-sized enterprises, one of the many challenges Ms. Velasquez and her colleagues face is effective collaboration with employers.

Another challenge, one which Colombia does share with the rest of the world, is digitalization. In this context, Ms. Velasquez and Mr. Peromingo also discuss the functionality of Colombia’s current PES digital labor market platform, leading to the 2020 goal of becoming the country’s main source of information on employability through a new, to be developed, labor market platform.

Watch here the full interview:

PEPTalk 9: Competences, Occupations – can they work together?

On November 14 we presented another PEPTalk. This time the guest speakers were Karin Hackensöllner-Ali & Bettina Huber from the Austrian PES (AMS). They showed the importance of working with competences in addition to occupations when trying to find a jobseeker a suitable job.

Finding jobseekers suitable jobs based solely on previous occupations can be rather difficult. But when mapping jobseekers’ competences to their past occupations, the matching system can cast the net wider, look for occupations that fit a similar set of competences, and turn up potential jobs that would not have been found otherwise.

From WCC’s side Ludger Weller, who cooperates closely with AMS on matching matters, highlights the benefits of leveraging this knowledge in other parts of a comprehensive matching system as well.

To watch the webinar on-demand please click below:

When we started with the PEPtalks we had an audience of 20 to 30 live viewers. We are delighted to see that this last PEPTalk had 146 live viewers from as far as Malaysia. Another 122 signed up to view the webinar later. As it is an interactive webinar, we also invite the viewers to ask questions that get answered during the webinar. But with so many viewers there were more questions than we could answer during the webinar. Of course, such a complicated subject can’t fully be discussed in only 45 minutes. That is why we are glad that AMS has agreed to host a one-day workshop on the subject in their offices in Vienna early next year. Already 42 people have shown their interest in attending that workshop.

We are happy that our initiative is gaining recognition by a growing group of people from Public Employment Services all over the world. And we invite people from a PES to be our guest speaker in one of the next PEPTalks so that this exchange of knowledge will benefit all PESses and make them more effective in finding jobseekers a sustainable job and improve the wellbeing of the population at large.

PEPTalk 8: How advanced technology improved job matching at VDAB

The PEPTalk of June 2018 focused on Profiling, which allows us to divide people into target groups based on predetermined rules and to subsequently provide these groups with more targeted matches, guided by an AI-driven knowledge model. In the upcoming PEPTalk of March 26, you will learn how VDAB, in close cooperation with WCC, has put advanced AI techniques to use in their daily practice, with the aim of taking their job matching to a higher level.

Using AI techniques in order to improve job matching is not simply a matter of using an off-the-shelf algorithm and then expecting miracles – VDAB uses highly targeted AI techniques for very specific purposes, in a process in which there is also close collaboration with domain experts. Ria Deketele will present how VDAB is now using data analysis and machine learning to determine relevant target groups of jobseekers that require more tailored matching strategies. You will learn how by means of a qualitative tuning process, specific rules and matching criteria have been applied in order to improve these jobseekers’ chances in the job market. You will also learn how the effects of this tuning can be quantitatively evaluated by means of data analysis. Finally, you will learn how talent expectations and company culture information can potentially enrich the match process even further.

Below you can watch on-demand our PEPTalk on ‘How advanced technology improved job matching at VDAB’. 

PEPTalks are live & interactive: we encourage you to ask questions during the web

PEPTalk 7: Skills assessment app using ESCO and AI

Self-service skills assessment using a smart app based on ESCO and AI!

Apart from MySkills in Germany, there is another new approach to help refugees finding a job quickly. It is an app that helps them in their own language to assess the skills they have gained through past experiences. It uses the ESCO taxonomy including over 13,500 individual skills and nearly 3,000 occupations, as well as state of the art artificial intelligence to match individuals to occupations and generate job-specific applications.

The resulting skill profiles can then be used by individuals, employment services, education institutions, and others, and integrated into existing career and education services. Mr. Ulrich Scharf, Managing Director of Skilllab will explain how it works and how a PES can use it to improve the chances of refugees in finding suitable work more quickly and efficiently.

PEPTalks are live & interactive: we encourage you to ask questions during the webinar.

Click below to see the webinar on demand.

For more information on the skilllab application please contact Ulrich Scharf at  u.scharf@skilllab.io

Want to learn even more? Also watch our previous PEPTalk about ESCO.


ESCO is the multilingual classification of European Skills, Competences, Qualifications and Occupations. ESCO is part of the Europe 2020 strategy.

The ESCO classification identifies and categorises skills, competences, qualifications and occupations relevant for the EU labour market and education and training. It systematically shows the relationships between the different concepts.