A youth-centered analysis of the changes in the nature and meaning of work

This project is supported by a grant of the Romanian National Authority for Scientific Research and Innovation, CNCS – UEFISCDI, project number PNII-RU-TE-2014-4-0011. Contract number: 250/01.10.2015.



General presentationTeamResearch outcomesReportsContact

This project aims to gain a better understanding of the meanings young people from vocational education and training (VET) attribute to work (including entrepreneurship) and the main structural dynamics at play that shape their views. Starting from the idea that young women and men attending VET enter labour market at a time when the notion of labour is shifting from manual, physical work to services, the project aims to examine their perceptions in regard to the world of work. In doing this, the research will carry out in-depth interviews and focus groups with young women and men attending VET, with education staff and employers. The underlying rationale is to go beyond the dual understanding: employment/ unemployment and to examine the more nuanced social dynamics that shape young people’s views on manual labour, professional or administrative work, apprenticeships, work in the grey economy, temporary and part time work, entrepreneurship etc. Ultimately, the research will increase the level of academic legitimacy of the interdisciplinary area of Youth Studies in Romania and will advance research-informed policy recommendations for the area of civic/entrepreneurial education.





Maria-Carmen Pantea, PhD project director

Cristina Faludi, PhD postdoctoral researcher

Alina-Petronela Silian, doctoral researcher

Anatolie Cosciug, doctoral researcher

Ovidiu Oltean, doctoral researcher


Publication and reports


Pantea, M.C. (2017). ‘You can change the world’. Young people, youth organizations and social entrepreneurship. YOUNG. 26(3).

Pantea, M.C. (Forthcoming). Employment-to-Entrepreneurship Interface in the Context of Tech Innovation. A Qualitative Analysis in Romania’.Journal for East European Management Studies.

Oltean, O. and Cosciug, A. (under review) ‘Making Vocational Education and Training Count Again: Reintroducing Vocational Education as a Tool for Social Inclusion in Romania’.

Faludi, C. and Pantea, M.C. (2017) ‘Exploring the relevance of the dual model in Romania’s vocational education and training. A policy analysis informed by a qualitative research ‘in Franz Kaiser & Susann Krugmann (Eds.) Social Dimension and Participation in Vocational Education and Training. Proceedings of the 2nd conference ”Crossing Boundaries in VET. Pp. 81-83. Rostock: Institute for Vocational Education / Institut für Berufspädagogik (ibp).

Faludi, C. (2016) ‘The approaches on work and social entrepreneurship in vocational and training education in Romania. A thematic analysis of the written curricula’ in Baciu, E.L. & Tomita M.A. (Eds.) Social Inclusion and Equal Opportunities. SIEO 2016’ pp. 97-101, Bologna: Filodiritto Publisher.

A Background Report is available here. It has the purpose of informing the qualitative research by updated studies on the main themes of interest: (i) the changing nature and meanings of work; (ii) youth employment and entrepreneurship; (iii) entrepreneurial learning and social  entrepreneurship; (iv) VET and apprenticeship reforms and (v) major European policies in the area of youth entrepreneurship. 

A youth friendly booklet and a booklet for teachers are available on project’s website.




Cristina Faludi presented the paper ‘Students from Vocational Education and Training (VET) system as potential resources of the rural communities in Romania” at the Transylvanian International Conference in Public Administration, ‘Babes-Bolyai’ University Cluj Napoca (2-4 November  2017).

Cristina Faludi participated at the annual conference of the Romanian Sociological Society (Brasov, November 19-21, 2015).

Maria-Carmen Pantea was keynote speaker at the conference “Towards collaborative practice – European conference on youth work, social innovation and enterprise”, Malmo, Sweden. The conference was organized by the Swedish Agency for Youth and Civil Society, Salto-Youth Participation, Erasmus+. The event was organized in cooperation with the  “Social Innovation Summit”, coordinated by the  Forum for Social Innovation, Sweden.

Cristina Faludi organized a panel in two sections at the Social sciences and the contemporary challenges, International Conference Oradea, 11-12 of June 2016. Title of the panel: ‘Contemporary Challenges in Education (1 si 2).  

Maria-Carmen Pantea took part at the Fifth International Conference on Precarious Work and Vulnerable Workers (13 – 14 of June2016), Middlesex University, London.  The conference was organized by ADAPT (Association for International and Comparative Studies in Labour Law and Industrial Relations) and Middlesex University Business School. The title of the presentation: ‘Meanings of work among young people in vocational education and training. A youth-centered analysis in Romania’.

Cristina Faludi presented the paper ‘Approaches on work and social entrepreneurship in vocational education and training in Romania. A thematic analysis of the written curricula” at the International Conference of the Romanian Sociological Society, Universitatea ‘Lucian Blaga’ Sibiu (29 Septembrie-1 Octombrie 2016).

Presentation: ‘Vocational education and training (VET) in time of change: ways for improvement based on an extensive qualitative study’ at the Social Work International Conference, Faculty of Sociology and Social Work, Bucharest,  3-4 of November 2016. Authors : Cristina Faludi, Alina Silian, Anatolie Cosciug, Ovidiu Oltean, Maria-Carmen Pantea. The presentation reunites a set of proposals for education policy making in the area of VET. 

Cristina Faludi participated at the International Conference Social Inclusion & Equal opportunities – SIEO, Timisoara, 26-28 of October 2016. Her presentation was published in the Conference Proceedings.

Cristina Faludi held the presentation ‘Exploring the relevance of the dual model in Romanian VET. A policy analysis informed by a qualitative research’ at the International VET Conference ‘crossing boundaries in vocational education and training: social dimensions and participation’ Rostock University 16.-18 August 2017.

Cristina Faludi held the presentation ‘Vocational education and training of Romanian youth from rural areas: in between shortcomings and opportunities’ at the Journal of Vocational Education and Training Conference. Worcester College, Oxford, 7-9 July 2017.

Maria-Carmen Pantea held the presentation ‘Beyond skills: A qualitative inquiry on VET in Romania’ at the Journal of Vocational Education and Training Conference. Worcester College, Oxford, 7-9 July 2017.’

Maria-Carmen Pantea held the presentationa “Young people in vocational education and training: in between craftsmanship and precariat” at   the 13th Conference of the European Sociological Association, Athens, 29 August – 1 Sept 2017. She also chaired the session ‘’Employment, Unemployment and Underemployment’.


Participation in training

Cristina Faludi took part at Telciu Summer School Rurality-Modernity-Decoloniality between 21-25 of August 2016. Her presentation was based on the fieldwork in Bistrita-Nasaud county, in particular the rural-urban dynamics involved in educational choice. Telciu Summer School is a recent initiative of the Center for the Study of Modernity and the Rural World

Alina Silian, Anatolie Cosciug and Ovidiu Oltean took part at the 2nd GOVPED Graduate Workshop, May 2017, University of Lausanne. They held the presentation Paradoxes and contradictions of VET developments in Romania’.


Policy-related events


Anatolie Cosciug and Maria-Carmen Pantea participated at the public consultation on Vocational education and training, Cluj Napoca June 8, 2016.

Ovidiu Oltean and Maria-Carmen Pantea took part at the regional consultation on functional illiteracy in Romania (7 of November 2016). The debate was organized by the Romanian Presidency in partnership with the Centre for the Study of Democracy from ‘Babeș-Bolyai’ University.

Maria-Carmen Pantea participated at the 2016 annual meeting of the Pool of European Youth Researchers and the national correspondents     of the European Knowledge Centre of Youth Policies, European Youth Centre Budapest. She was Rapporteur of the thematic group: Bridges with formal education, Vocational Education and Training and unemployment.

Alina Silian took part at a working meeting organised at the Romanian Parliament (July 3, 2017), with the purpose of discussing a legislative project for improving the VET system in Romania.

Maria-Carmen Pantea participated at the 2017 Symposium ‘Youth Policy Responses to the Contemporary Challenges Faced by Young People’ organized by the EU-CoE Youth partnership in the framework of the Czech Chairmanship of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe. Prague. She was the Rapporteur for the Thematic group ‘Learning and training’.


Presentations of the project to different professional communities


Cristina Faludi made a public presentation of the project, in the frame of the  Social sciences and the contemporary challenges, International  Conference, Oradea, June 2016. 

Cristina Faludi presented the project at the Simpozionului ,,Preuniversitaria” ediţia a XXIX- a, Cluj Napoca.

Ovidiu Oltean, Anatolie Cosciug and Alina Silian held a presentation at the PhD discussion group at the College of Political, Administrative and Communication Sciences.

Cristina Faludi held a lecture on the topic of the project at Liverpool John Moores University, within an Erasmus+ mobility.

Maria-Carmen Pantea made the presentation ‘Analiza proceselor care conduc elevii inspre invatamantul professional’ at Targul de meserii, an event organised by The French Business Club in Cluj, September, 2017.



Maria-Carmen Pantea, project director: mpantea@socasis.ubbcluj.ro