Russia is confronted with a severe staffing crisis

According to forecasts of Korn Ferry Hay Group, a global consulting firm in human resources management, in 12 years Russia will face grave staffing crisis. While in a number of western countries such as the USA, Japan, France, Germany and Australia it is expected to occur even sooner. Experts say that this challenge will primarily affect the mining and processing industries which become more and more advanced and, hence, they require highly qualified workforce.

Last year this extractive industry ensured 29,2% of tax yield of consolidated budget of Russian Federation ( in 2016 it was 26,5%). This means the mineral resources complex remains the “backbone” of domestic economy and the state and society’s well-being depends on its onwards development.

Moreover, the reserves of the so-called “light oil” which occurred practically on the Earth surface have become a thing of the past. New fields are more and more hard-to-recover, hydrocarbons lie at greater depths and in the zone of permafrost. Consequently, the technology necessary to extract them will definitely become more complex.

The qualification requirements for petroleum and mining engineers also increase. At the same time many representatives of mineral resources complex say that the current system of higher technical education makes it impossible to create a pool of qualified specialists essential for non-stop operation of the industry in future. To a large extent such situation was caused by the transition to Bologna system of bachelors and masters degree courses, which is suitable for humanization of society but which decreased the requirements for engineers.

I don’t quite understand why we moved to Bologna system. Is this a result of a loss in some battle? We had a successful system of education, it met the challenges set by the state. And now we are at a dying out fire which we try to light again. Industry needs professional engineers.
Sergey Serdyukov, the chief technology officer of Nord Stream 2 AG

To remedy the situation it’s not enough to come back to the former “Soviet” system of higher education. Training of a specialist, whose level of qualification meets the contemporary requirements, demands the introduction of a system of competency assessment and life-long learning.

This task is one which must be performed by the International Center of Competence for Mining-Engineering education under the auspices of UNESCO, which was established on the basis of Saint-Petersburg Mining University. Here the representatives of the international expert community will work on credential evaluation of the graduates for the status of professional engineer. Perhaps the Russian government will make a decision that this procedure will become obligatory for all staff of core businesses.

The idea is that after the graduation bachelors would be required to have three years of on-the-job experience and specialists and masters – two years. After that they will have month long courses of advanced training in the Competence Center and complete a proficiency examination conducted by the expert commission. If they pass the exam, then the names of new engineers will be listed in Russian and International registrars and this will facilitate their career development and capitalization of businesses they are with. Such arrangement exists in the developed western economies.

One of the most representative institutions which deals with the accreditation of specialists abroad is the London Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining (IOM3). Among its fellow members are the leading European scientists. Certification of the staff member by IOM3 is a clear indication of high level qualification.

In February 2016 Mining university and IOM3 signed an Agreement on cooperation. This document signed by the Rector of the Mining university Vladimir Litvinenko and IOM3 Executive Director Bernard Rickinson was the first step on the way to the creation of International Competence Center for mining-engineering education under the auspices of UNESCO.

The project which is implemented on the basis of the Mining university is of special importance for us. We agree with all basic principles of this Center under the auspices of UNESCO. One of them is continuous professional development of personnel employed in extracting and processing industries. This is very important, this is the calling of our time. By assessing the personal level of professionalism we will give the core businesses’ authorities of Russia and other countries the possibility to determine how qualified their staff is. And most importantly, after completing the attestation procedure, we will be able to say that such a work force is created in the world which possesses the necessary knowledge, skills and competences
Bernard Rickinson, Chief Executive of the Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining (IOM3)

Experts say that in the 21-st century it is impossible to predict how in the nearest 25 years this or that industry will develop. In this regard it is very difficult to forecast the effectiveness of introduction of certain technology. Knowledge which yesterday seemed to be in demand will be out of date much quicker than in the previous century. Whereas professional development and implementation of the system of life-long learning will become a pre-requisite for successful business performance and for development of national economies.


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