Our team and Partners

Project Coordinator - Dr. Marge Unt

As a kid, I never wanted to grow up. To me, the grown-up world was not something to look for. What is this "work" they always claim to have? Why do they refuse to run around in fields and find shapes in clouds? And why do adults assume that they know it all and are still so stressed? Now, I have made this transition and have entered the world of my own family and work. However, I am still deeply interested in how youth experience becoming an adult in different contexts.


Project Co-coordinator - Prof. Dr. Michael Gebel

When I grew up, Germany experienced serious mass unemployment and was called the “sick man of Europe”. I saw friends suffering from unemployment and insecure jobs. But there were also success stories of friends coping with such a situation and also escaping from it. Nowadays, after a period of policy reforms, the situation is better in Germany but there are still many problems. These observations raised my interest in understanding how youths avoid getting into trouble and which policies help.



Get to know all researchers that are engaged in the project. Read the personal story of each researcher by clicking on her/his picture.

Jelena Helemäe

Jelena Helemäe

Position: Senior Research Fellow

Field of study: Sociology

Research topics: Social stratification, educational inequality

Marge’s request to write short “non-official” bio makes me realize that the meanings of ‘objective’ characteristics of my work career are not self-evident, being part of abruptly changed societal context. Four “Soviet-times” jobs (i.e. prolonged transition from education to work) were about the secure opportunities to look for “an interesting” job in different fields of economic activities. Since the late 80’s this “interesting” (research fellow) job, being very much the same in terms of content, team and even location is denoted by a long list of different affiliations. It was reflection of involvement in different kind of transition – societal one that brought about perpetual reforms in science and higher education. But this “sameness” of job was secured by constant efforts of good colleagues despite of temporary job contracts and project-based character of employment. There was a short (about two months) but very unpleasant period of unemployment as well. Maybe my mid-career experiences of societal transition help me to understand early career experiences of the contemporary youth?


Advisory board:

Hans-Peter Blossfeld
Caroline Dewilde
Duncan Gallie
Massimiliano Mascherini
Jale Tosun
Gianfranco Bordone
Laura Orestano
Franco Chiaramonte
Luca Chiapella
Vanessa Di Paola
Virginie Mora
Ruth Santos-Brien
Rita Bergstein

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