Romania: meeting the challenges of work automation

How to face the challenges of work automation?

To answer this, the city of Cluj-Napoca, in northwestern Romania, has set up the program “The future of workThis European project relies on three levers: adaptation of study programs, entrepreneurial training of creators and assistance to the most disadvantaged neighborhoods.

“I believe that the automation of work should be seen as an opportunity and not as a risk. explains project manager Ovidiu Cîmpeam. We can create more jobs by relying on our creativity as human beings.”

Between 2001 and 2019, Cluj-Napoca is one of the fastest growing European cities according to Eurostat. To maintain it, it realized that it had to bridge the gap between knowledge and emerging technologies. It is estimated that 49% of the local economy it is highly sensitive to emerging technologies and automation.

A regional assessment however, it shows that the performance of the local economy of Cluj-Napoca is much higher than that of the whole country. And among the best in the Balkan region, both in terms of GDP per capita and GVA.

The first lever for meeting the challenges of work automation: CREIC’s center of excellence and its three laboratories. Every day, nearly 240 students follow a study program adapted to the market and automation.

Teodora has just found a job at the computer giant IBM thanks to this program: _”_I learned a lot about new emerging technologies such as virtual reality, 3D design, game development, she said. I think that in the future we will have many jobs that involve engineering, but also technology and automation”.

The total budget of the “Future for Work” program is 5.6 million euros. 80% of this amount (4,429,450 euros) comes from the European cohesion policy and the remaining 20% ​​from 10 public and private partners.

Cultural and creative industries (CCI) are one of the driving forces of Cluj-Napoca. Even if of the 2000 graduates of this sector every year, only 7% find work there.

Anadora, a metal sculptor, is one of the five artists, among the 69 who applied, who has received the appropriate support for the development of her project, thanks to Culturepreneurs, one of the components of the program.

“It kind of filled the need to know more about this field, and not just on a design or expertise level, but also on a social and entrepreneurial level”she explains.

Facilitating access to work for slum dwellers

Social-professional inclusion is the third axis of this program dedicated to employment in the next 20 years. The social divide is clearly visible in Cluj-Napoca. Around the Pata-Rât landfill, more than 2,500 people live in a slum.

Guaranteeing their minimum was the task of Alex Fechete, facilitator of project for the Roma community :”We brought in two containers with showers and also set up the internet for community members to look for jobs, he said. We managed to bring a bus for six months, to facilitate access to work”.

Ten free wireless internet points, a router and an antenna have been installed to cover all Roma communities in the region. As part of the project, 350 free public transport passes were given to older members of the community to facilitate the access of people from Pata-Rât to the labor market: 98% of employees used the bus to go to work.

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