in a context of transformations in the socio-employment world, this article examines change with respect to the knowledge of work that is involved in young people's initial employment transitions. the article is based on a qualitative study of two vocational training centers in argentina. the question is aimed at determining the existence of a common core of required knowledge for obtaining work in the formal as well as informal spheres of employment. the results show the ways the two vocational training centers support young people in developing skills to manage their own strategies. both centers express, during the teaching process, a common core of knowledge that is implicit in transition processes. yet on educating young people with different profiles, for different segments of the labor market, the vocational training centers' objectives and estimations of required knowledge also differ.