Making Capabilities Work
Start date: Nov 1, 2009,
End date: Oct 31, 2012
“Making Capabilities Work” (WorkAble) will scrutinise strategies to enhance the social sustainability and economic competitiveness of Europe by strengthening the capabilities of young people to actively shape their personal and work lives in knowledge societies and cope with today's economic, cultural, demographic and technological challenges. Bridging quantitative and qualitative methods, WorkAble will assess the potential of innovative European strategies for dealing with local labour-market demands and regional inequalities. Adopting a comparative and interdisciplinary approach, it will systematically analyse whether and how young people are enabled to participate in working life and society. Applying the Capabilities Approach as a common heuristic framework, 12 partners from different disciplines (educational science, sociology, economics, philosophy, political studies and social work) in 10 European countries will collaborate closely in a multidimensional research process. WorkAble will survey whether and how the match between young people’s supply of skills and competencies and changing labour-market needs is sustained and secured, while simultaneously broadening their options for living in and actively shaping European knowledge societies. It will explore how educational strategies are implemented and assess whether they enable young people to convert knowledge, skills and competencies into capabilities to function as fully participating active citizens. This calls for a three-phase research design: 1) a comparative institutional mapping and analysis of vocational and labour-market policies in all educational regimes; 2) case studies to reconstruct the conceptions, aspirations and practices of local actors implementing educational and training programmes; and 3) quantitative secondary analyses of national and European longitudinal data revealing how effectively these strategies enhance economic performance and close the capability gap for young people.
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