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22 November 2017

On November 16 in the town of Polevsk, Sverdlovsk Region, Pipe Metallurgical Company (TMK) opened one of five campuses of its future corporate university. This site will provide on-campus instruction and online courses in three main areas: sales, technologies and research activities, and management. 

TMK's corporate university is but one example of an industrial corporation training its employees for its own purposes. Rosatom, Russian Railways, KAMAZ, Rosneft, Gazprom, Chelyabinsk Pipe-Rolling Plant, UMMC, and many other major Russian companies have already created similar programs. Generally, other companies' employees can also attend such universities. Many corporate training sites are operating under the public-private partnership format and enjoy financial and political support of the authorities.


"Russia is facing a major problem with the lack of qualified workforce, so there is no point in sitting around and waiting for it to be supplied by vocational and technical schools,"

Alexander Shokhin, TMK Board Member and President of the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs, believes.

Top corporate and public universities, their clients, and those who develop educational and professional standards will come together in the summer of 2018 for the international PROFI. Education Industry Solutions project themed Corporate Universities: Production and Administrative Training

For the fourth time, PROFI will run concurrently with INNOPROM, a major technology exhibit which attracts industrial equipment suppliers and buyers from over 100 countries. In 2017, PROFI welcomed over 500 visitors, 200 of them heads of industrial enterprises, corporate universities, and public educational institutions representing different countries and various Russian regions. 

In the upcoming year, PROFI will step up its efforts. Organizers seek to not only attract a broad professional audience to the discussion of HR issues in industry, but also make the project more useful for its participants and visitors by emphasizing the applied aspect.


"In 2018, special project PROFI would like to ensure maximum contacts between equipment suppliers and buyers. In order to meet this objective, we developed PROFI exhibition and business program, as well as our special PROFI Routes, i.e. daily 40-60 minute tours that allow for INNOPROM visitors to attend all exhibition pavilions,"

Project Director Tatiana Aprelskaya shared.

Organizers are currently developing PROFI-2018 Route program: companies interested in demonstrating their simulators, training equipment, education technologies and materials on professional and advanced industrial personnel training are welcome  to submit their applications until the end of December 2017. INNOPROM Operator will take it upon himself to attract visitors to the exhibition, including potential buyers of education solutions for corporate universities, training centers, institutions of higher learning, and vocational schools from various countries.

In addition to organizing its exhibition, PROFI intends to hold daily master classes presented by exhibition participants and project partners, provide career advice as part of the HR Hour, and arrange for other exciting activities. PROFI-2018 business program will span over July 11-12 and maintain maximum coverage of education solutions and related aspects. The congressional part will open with the Conference of the Presidential National Council for Professional Qualifications. The Big Conference of HR Directors of Russian Production Enterprises and Holdings will run as a separate event. Its participants will share their experiences in the application of training equipment and discuss HR issues.


Digital economy barriers

HR deficit in the industrial sector and the quality of professional education are also on the federal agenda.

In July 2017, the Government of the Russian Federation approved the Digital Economy of the Russian Federation program. Its focus can be summarized as follows: Russia must close the gap and catch up with developed economies which are based on efficient cutting edge technologies. 


"Transition to the digital economy is critical for our global competitiveness and national security,"

Prime Minister of the Russian Federation Dmitry Medvedev pointed out at a meeting with his deputies in the summer of 2017.

The government program emerged in response to factors which hamper the development of digital economy in Russia. Major obstacles include "HR deficit, low level of specialist training, and insufficient number of world-class research projects." 

The authorities and corporate representatives are combining their efforts in an attempt to resolve the issue with the lack of qualified workforce in the Russian manufacturing segment. For example, several Russian regions are implementing the dual education program which targets the acquisition of actual skills in real-world environment. Theoretical courses are taught at colleges and universities, and practical classes are held at training centers operated by production facilities. Industrial enterprises are eager to partake in the project because it graduates employees familiar with production specifics, and participating companies can also claim a tax deduction. 

Along with the introduction of the dual education system, Russia is reviving the institution of mentorship. 


"We are currently observing a colossal gap between educational institutions and enterprises. Without a mentor, a company cannot train an efficient new employee. That is particularly true for the defense industry, mechanical engineering, and metallurgy. Through interaction with an experienced mentor, young specialists get the key link between theoretical knowledge and production practice because a mentor can pass on unique knowledge about work specifics which cannot be covered within the general system of education," 

Ludmila Shepeleva, Depity General Director of the  Agency for Strategic Initiatives, said.

Similar practices are already used in 20 pilot regions which are implementing the regional standard for industrial growth staffing. More than 280 industrial enterprises are participating in the project which encompasses 115 unique professions. The number of mentors engaged in pilot regions amounts to 3500, according to the Agency for Strategic Initiatives, which is supervising the project.

Non-commercial WorldSkills movement is also making a major contribution to boosting the prestige of blue-collar jobs and encouraging the development of new competencies. The Russian office of the Young Professionals Union ("WorldSkills Russia") organizes professional skills championships and seeks to implement global standards into the national system of vocational training and higher education. 2017 marked the first time when approximately 14,000 community college and vocational school graduates from 26 Russian regions took the benchmark exam in accordance with WorldSkills Russia standards. After the exam, students received their Skills passports, and employers collected structured information on the skill level of young professionals.


"WorldSkills  provides students with an opportunity to discover what working at an actual production facility feels like, and that is a particularly valuable experience because participating enterprises represent top companies. If students rise to the occasion, employers deduce that they are looking at promising potential employees,"

Robert Urazov, General Director of WorldSkills Russia, explained.

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