IT skills essential to workers
Minsk’s Football Manege gathers over 280 young people from higher education, including from technical and secondary special establishments
Contestants vividly demonstrate their mastery
The event saw constructors, hairdressers and cooks demonstrating their skills, with young people acting as jury members as part of this year’s WorldSkills Belarus competition of professional mastery.
“A great number of those attending have had their eyes opened regarding possible vocations. Seeing the level of skill involved, including IT knowledge, they’ve reassessed the status of certain jobs,” notes Education Minister Mikhail Zhuravkov. He adds, “The venue has become a meeting place for employers and students, with the latter being offered jobs at prestigious companies. This is a real example of our work. Belarus’ leading enterprises have assisted us with equipment and, accordingly, their rapprochement with the educational sphere is obvious. Industrialists understand that, to make good products, they need qualified personnel who can operate the latest equipment.”
Simon Bartley — the President of WorldSkills International and an honorary guest of the contest — praised its organisation and the level of Belarusian young people’s professional mastery. “This is my second time in Belarus. I came here for the previous competition,” he said. “Since then, I can see considerable changes have taken place, for the better. Your educational sphere is progressing and the level of the event’s organisation is improving. I have all grounds to believe that your country could occupy a leading position among other states.”
Experts state that our young people are changing their views on certain vocations, realising that times have changed and that hands-on jobs don’t need to be ‘dirty’. Such employment just as often involves using the brain as the hands.
“We shouldn’t judge professional technical education from a traditional position,” asserts the First Pro-rector of the Republican Institute of Professional Education, Eduard Kalitsky. “This year’s WorldSkills Belarus attracted not just competent students from professional colleges and lyceums but those from the Belarusian State University, showing a blurring of division between educational levels. These days, engineers need to be able to install equipment and all workers need a certain degree of qualification. Construction workers need to be able to use design software, so more workers than ever are going on to higher education. We need a working elite able to develop the innovative sphere of our economy.”
Of course, problems remain, as the Director of the Brest Regional Centre of Innovative and Technical Art, Tatiana Valevich, admits. She believes that the economic situation of recent years has influenced the Brest Region’s industry and, accordingly, enterprises have been cautious in taking on young specialists. There are some positive examples, however: Pinskdrev and Amkodor. “The overall level of training in the Brest Region is high,” she stresses. “Our graduates find employment quite readily.”
By Vera Artemieva