Plenary Speakers and Programme


Plenary Speakers Include

Allais Matseleng, Stephanie is the Research Chair of Skills Development and Professor of Education at the Centre for Researching Education and Labour at Wits University. Her research is located in International and Comparative Education, and Education and Development, focused on relationships between education and work. Her research focuses both on political economy of transitions from education to work and curriculum and knowledge aspects of educational preparation for work, with a focus on developing countries.

Lotz-Sisitka, Heila  started her professional life as a Grade 1 teacher. She now holds a Tier 1 South African National Research Foundation/Department of Science and Technology Chair in Global Change and Social Learning Systems and is a Distinguished Research Professor at Rhodes University. Her Chair is based in the Environmental Learning Research Centre at Rhodes University, South Africa which she directed for 15 years (2000-2015). The current focus of the Chair’s research is transformative social learning and green skills learning pathways in areas of biodiversity, the water-food nexus, climate change, social and environmental justice, and just sustainability transitions. 

Madariaga, Aldo  is a professor at the School of Political Science, Diego Portales University in Santiago, Chile. He is also an associate researcher at the Center for Social Conflict and Cohesion Studies and the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies. His work deals with the political economy of development, particularly the role of business and institutions. He has researched several topics including monetary policy, industrial policy, skills formation, environmental policy and clean energy. He focuses mostly on Latin America but has also done comparative work with other regions like Eastern Europe.

Maurer, Markus Professor of Vocational Education at the Zurich University of Teacher Education (PHZH). His research focuses on the comparative analysis of VET policies and their implementation, with a specific interest in the recognition of prior learning.

Mcgrath, Simon is based at the University of Glasgow where he holds an established Chair in Education. Before moving to this role in 2022, he was UNESCO Chair in International Education and Development at the University of Nottingham. He is also visiting professor at Nelson Mandela University, South Africa.
He has worked on a range of aspects of the education-development relationship, particularly on vocational learning and diverse forms of work, and on integral human development.he has worked extensively in Africa, Europe, Asia and the Pacific. He has been a government scientific advisor in both UK and South Africa, and has done extensive international policy work, especially for UNESCO, the Commonwealth and SADC.

Ramsarup, Presha is Director at the Centre for Researching Education and Labour at the University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg. She is a Senior Research Associate at the Environmental Learning Research Centre at Rhodes University and Honorary Associate Professor at the University of Nottingham. Her research work focuses on learning pathways for sustainable development and sustainability and her work is focused on skills for a just transition. She is currently engaged in several research programmes focused on transitioning the Vocational Education and Training in Africa. She is the current President of Environmental Education Association of Southern Africa(EEASA) and has been a member of EEASA for over 20 years.

Sancak, Merve is a Lecturer in the Institute for International Management. Her research sits between international political economy, comparative political economy and economic sociology. Merve is interested in studying the interactions between global political and economic dynamics and national institutions, and the implications of these interactions for inclusive development. Her work so far has focused on the political economy of skill formation systems in late industrialising countries.

Vozza, Alice is the Senior Specialist, Skills and Employment at the International Labour Organization (ILO), Pretoria, South Africa. She has many years of work experience with the ILO and other international organizations, Alice has developed extensive experience in the promotion of decent work and sustainable development, with a particular focus on green jobs, green entrepreneurship, enterprise development and the role of private sector and business associations. She holds a master degree in Management of Development (ITC-ILO), a master in Business Management (ESCP, Paris) and a degree in Political Science (University of Turin, Italy).

Olga Strietska-Ilina is an Area Lead for Skills Strategies for Future Labour Markets at the ILO, Geneva. Her work focuses on anticipating skills needs for the Future of Work, skills for trade and economic diversification, skills for environmental sustainability and climate action, and skills for technological change and digitalisation.

Before 2008, Olga worked at the European Centre for Development of Vocational Training (Cedefop). Earlier on, she was a Head of the Czech National Observatory of Employment and Training and taught International Relations at the Central European University (CEU). Olga holds post-graduate degrees in Economic and Social Sciences from the University of Manchester, Society and Politics from the CEU, and History and Ethnography from the Moscow State University named after Lomonosov.

She published extensively and is the main author and/or (co-)editor of several books and reports, including “Changing demand for skills in digital economies and societies” (ILO, 2021), “The feasibility of using big data in anticipating and matching skills needs “ (ILO, 2020), “Skills and jobs mismatches in low- and middle-income countries” (ILO, 2019), “Skills for a greener future” (ILO, 2019), “Skills needs anticipation systems and approaches” (ILO, OECD et al, 2017), “Parallel cultures” (Routledge, 2017 2nd edition) and “A clash of transitions: Towards a learning society” (Peter Lang Publishing 2007).


This international conference provides an opportunity for different findings and lessons learned to be shared with the wider research community, policy makers and key players in the world of work.

Key insights from the comparative study will be presented on day one in a focused engagement with policy makers and researchers working in the space of vocational skills development, workplace transformation (changing technology and the introduction of new processes and products) as well as inclusivity and industrial development. This will be explored through the lens of skills for industry and the research foundation they provide to think more carefully about skills systems and VET programmes that can support just transitions.

More focused papers on specific aspects of research with a strong emphasis on skill formation, scaling and systems building will be shared on day two, as part of a broader sharing of research findings from other institutions and researchers working on related topics and areas across the continent and globally with the intent to build this emerging knowledge field.

Click here to view the programme.