Cluj Future of Work is tackling the vulnerability of the local economy to emerging technologies and automation with a series of actions targeting different groups, from aspiring entrepreneurs in cultural and creative industries to the local Roma community. Being among the fastest growing city in Europe and having quadrupled its GDP per capita in the last decade, Cluj Napoca is looking at the future of work as the field in which innovative actions can be tested in order to be competitive at European and global level.
With around 20% of the workforce currently employed in the cultural and creative industries, this sector was chosen by Cluj Napoca to test ambitious training programs, such as Culturepreneurs, which is fostering the creation of new enterprises in the sector and that is creating a widespread culture of innovative entrepreneurship at local level. Its modules on business essentials, developed in collaboration with a series of clusters, universities and knowledge centres active in different fields such as arts and design, film production, management and digitalization, are currently included also in the local universities’ curricula and are contributing to creating new partnerships among stakeholders active in different fields.
The Culturepreneurs programme trained 69 aspiring entrepreneurs, who used the knowledge on business essentials and on specific topics targeted by thematic modules (Custom Design, Innovative Audiovisual Contents, Gamification) to refine their business ideas and put them in practice with the machinery of 3 Labs on CGI&VFX, Design Development and Work 4.0 and Machine Learning hosted by CREIC, the Regional Centre of Excellence for Creative Industries. The Labs, equipped with innovative equipment, will be gradually opened to schools, universities, research centres and enterprises to be used as a playground for testing innovative ideas, services and products in different fields. The Work 4.0 and Machine Learning Lab is also used for retraining professionals of sectors at risk because of the rising of digitalization and automation, with a specific training program co-designed with local enterprises and clusters.
Cluj Future of Work has also improved the conditions for the employability of the residents of Pata Rat, an informal settlement located in the suburbs of the city in a landfill area. The UIA project fostered a participatory process in the area, which raised some of the most urgent points on which intervene in order to promote the access to decent jobs (such as the installation of a wi-fi connection in the area and sanitary infrastructure during the Covid emergency, or giving free access to a bus line connecting the area to the city centre) for the residents. Furthermore, the project is supporting the launch of start-ups on informal work carried out by eight aspiring entrepreneurs of the community, chosen after the launch of a public call.
Acting on different levels and groups of residents, Cluj Future of Work has created a tangible impact in different sectors of the local society, stimulating a wider reflection on the long-term perspectives of jobs and skills needed for balanced growth of the local economy.