Labour force is the most important asset of economy

For the economy to develop in a contemporary fashion, a new generation of innovation-supporting public officials is needed
Newly implemented technologies are behind up to 85 percent of GDP in some countries, with great emphasis placed on training specialists to apply their theoretical knowledge to high-tech manufacturing. Igor Gancherenok, the Pro-rector for Academic Work at the Academy of Management (under the President of the Republic of Belarus), shares his views on maximising labour potential.

At present, our world is experiencing a period of global change, with the most amazing theoretical ideas finding practical application. Of course, export-oriented nations are most sensitive to globalisation — our Republic among them. Manufactures must be sold. However, with markets opening, competition is becoming tougher. To keep abreast of the latest trends and innovations, we need intellectual assets: people ‘create’ the economy. Naturally, however talented you may be, education is essential to acquire professional skills, as the Academy of Management knows well, giving us the workforce of tomorrow.

Do our educational programmes need updating or are traditional skills still relevant? 

In my view, innovation builds on strong traditions, combining new knowledge (including global experience) with social and economic progress. It goes without saying that we must move with the times, meeting the needs of our age. The Academy of Management’s ‘E-Government’ is among such projects, acting as a pioneer within the Eurasian integration space. Russia is working similarly and we realise that it’s an area worthy of attention.

Not long ago, Berlin hosted a seminar at which we and our EU partners demonstrated developments in the field of e-registration of businesses. Since enterprise is becoming more integrated, the process of registration needs to be international and easy to use. Belarus is making progress, ranked 9th worldwide for business registration by the UN. In my report, I mentioned that it takes just five days to register a business here (five procedures in all). On hearing this, my Swedish colleague asked how long it really tends to take and I was able to say just one day. Afterwards, a German representative said, without any irony, that they could learn from Belarus in this respect.

Optimising management is another important aspect, to achieve efficiency and reduce costs. We don’t need to lose jobs for this to happen. In the IT sphere, the loss of two traditional jobs can bring the creation of five new. Our foreign colleagues agree that the development of e-government envisages the creation of new jobs.

We are keen to create professional associations to take on some of the functions currently overseen by state management bodies. These associations would employ more staff, while state management bodies would pay fees to be members, reducing the number of state staff and increasing the number of professional workers.

For the economy to develop innovatively, we must train a new generation of state officials to be receptive to innovation. Innovative state programmes need to be combined with a formula of new educational technologies, academic mobility and hands on experience.

Clearly, results won’t be immediate. What do staff lack do you think?

Primarily, professional communication in a foreign language is needed. If you can settle issues without a translator, decisions are made more quickly and mutual trust is promoted. With this in mind, the Academy offers several language courses, which enjoy great popularity. It’s easier than ever to learn another language, with the help of IT. The most important aspects are motivation to learn and a true desire to succeed. Professional growth relies on people taking responsibility for their own development. Many further education programmes are available online these days.
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