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Making capabilities work: New Ways of Tackling Young Europeans' Transitions from Education to Work

10 October 2012, Brussels - Belgium
Representation of the State North Rhine-Westphalia to the EU
Rue Montoyer 47, 1000 Brussels

The EU collaborative research project "Making capabilities work (WorkAble)" invites to its final conference on 30th October 2012 in Brussels.

The research looked at innovative programmes and interventions that dealt with problems, risks or failures in one or more of the following transitions: from compulsory school to further education; from education/vocational training to the labour market; and from unemployment or a position outside the labour market to employment. The assumptions, aspirations and practices of the actors who implemented the educational and training programmes have been reconstructed; key observations have been drawn adopting a comparative perspective; and recommendations to policy makers have been drafted.

In addition, the research investigated to what extent different labour market settings and educational regimes influence the successful transition from education to work of young Europeans with similar education levels. Special attention was paid to a better understanding of the varying relationships between individual wellbeing and social exclusion as well as education and transitional trajectories in different European countries.

In line with the special focus taken by the Europe 2020 strategy for the smart, sustainable and inclusive growth of young people's opportunities and their empowerment, WorkAble aimed to make available to policy makers an in-depth understanding of the capabilities (skills, commodities and opportunities) that young people need to acquire in order to be able to act as capable citizens in European labour markets. By using the Capability Approach, WorkAble substantially broadens human-capital perspectives, because capabilities are about choice in terms of valuable options and not only about having useful and marketable capacities and skills.

On this basis, WorkAble argues that the expansion of the capabilities of young persons is necessary to enable them to act as capable citizens in the labour markets of European knowledge societies. Not only does this prepare young people to meet the needs of the labour market, but it also secures the capabilities which they need to steer actively their own future development.