Guests from the future

Graduates are obliged to make choices which are life-changing, rather like choosing the right path in a fairy-tale

Graduates are obliged to make choices which are life-changing, rather like choosing the right path in a fairy-tale. They have to decide if a profession will be in demand in coming years.


Darya Kakashinskaya and Olga Sokolovskaya: student assistants at business incubator

Here are our predictions for popular jobs and which new professions may appear.

According to Forbes, up and coming jobs include sitting (for houses/pets/children), gerontology, and breeding of crops and livestock, as well as human resource management and alternative energy management.

Of course, universities attempt to pre-empt coming trends, offering courses which are relevant. How could they possibly offer ‘cyber-prosthetics’ as a specialisation without having good grounds. Inna Bagnyuk, who heads the Specialty and Qualifications Department of the Republican Institute for Higher School, tells us, “Many nuances are taken into account: the economic situation, employment trends, and job demand projections. New government programmes can give impetus to new and unusual professional training. Eventually, a list of prospective professions is formed. Jobs no longer in demand are also removed from the list.”

In the past year alone, nineteen new specialties have appeared. Inna Bagnyuk says that she literally saw with her own eyes the creation of biopharmacy — with biopharmachemists emerging. Combining biology, pharmaceuticals and chemistry, it’s a profession of the future. So far, it is taught only at the BSU but, as the Belarusian pharmaceutical market is booming, others may follow suit.

Meanwhile, programming and economics combine in the profession of economist-programmer. Ms. Bagnyuk believes this to be another profession likely to be in demand soon. ‘Unmanned aircraft specialist’ is also assumed to have a long life ahead. Masters of applied biotechnology, using DNA and cell technology, are also likely to be sought after within the next decade, alongside nuclear power engineers.


Research officer Ilya Bruchkovsky

It all appears extremely futuristic. The First Deputy Head of the Republican Institute for Vocational Education, Eduard Kalitsky, has an atlas of prospective professions from the Moscow ‘Skolkovo’ School on his desk. He tells me, “The projections are surprising: ‘living systems architect’, ‘genetic advisor’, ‘virtual world designer’, and ‘game teacher’. It takes foresight to determine prospective professions.”

As a matter of fact, the essence of professions remains the same, only the conditions and workplaces alter. For instance, there has long been the job of someone who milks cows, although approaches have changed immensely. At present, a machine-assisted milking operator, ideally, should know the fundamentals of programming and animal science, while being knowledgeable about climate conditions and how to feed animals. Farms have automated systems, sometimes playing music to soothe cows. Meanwhile, plumbers no longer need to cut off water supply but can freeze liquid at the leakage point, using a special device, or can check pipes with a tele-camera.

It’s hard to make far-reaching forecasts, Eduard Kalitsky believes. In ten or fifteen years, even traditional blue-collar jobs may alter. Belarus has already produced its first remote-controlled mining truck, showing that, in a few years, tractor drivers will need different skills. They’ll come to an office, perhaps dressed in suit and tie, to press buttons launching plowing tractors 25km away.

“The operator will see more sitting in front of his monitor than through the tractor window, believe me,” says Eduard Kalitsky. “That’s why our professional schools are teaching professions yet to be ‘required’. We have 40 resource centres with cutting-edge equipment that can only be found at specialised exhibitions or abroad.”

In 2014, our country first participated in the ‘career Olympic games’: WorldSkills International. Last year, Olga Zakrevskaya, a student at Minsk State Technical Sewing College, was awarded a medal for perfectionism in the ‘Clothes Design’ nomination. This event allows us to peep into the future, since the most progressive techniques are employed. Next year, our country will represent 33 professions at the event.


Engineer Olga Puchik

Waiters, apothecaries, drivers and customer support specialists will be replaced with robots in future. “The service sphere is developing robustly, especially regarding machine-building,” says Mr. Kalitsky. “These are our budget-forming enterprises, and they are rapidly reequipping. Of course, we’ll see re-industrialisation and robotics development, which will replace mid-skill workers.”

“One way or another, change triggers the creation of new professions. In 2014, two new professions appeared: ‘recyclable material sorter’ and ‘animal (poultry) breeding automated technological equipment field engineer’. Already, six professions relating to nuclear plant operation have appeared,” says Yelena Peshchenko, an advisor with the Labour Organisation and Motivation Department of the Ministry of Labour and Social Protection. In 2015, three new positions were introduced: operational logistics specialist, senior specialist for handling valuables, and specialist for handling valuables. Meanwhile, 141 job descriptions were amended.

Ms. Peschenko explains, “All changes in professions and positions are recorded in the Unified Tariff and Qualification Reference Book of Jobs and Professions, and in the Unified Qualification Reference Book of Employee Positions. These books, like a living organism, respond to trends.

It’s hard to predict the future face of the labour market but we can try. Students would be wise to plan carefully when choosing their path.

By Taisia Azanovich

Photo: Tatiana STOLYAROVA, Yuri MOZOLEVSKY
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