Emil Gubaydullin: ‘Russia’s accession to WorldSkills gave a stimulus to the development of vocational training’

Emil Gubaydullin: ‘Russia’s accession to WorldSkills gave a stimulus to the development of vocational training’
Photo: Maxim Platonov

Classic vocational training is no longer enough to prepare a qualified specialist, experts say. Enterprises and vocational training should work in tandem to provide the labour market with sought-after professionals. The Centre for Development of Professional Competences of the Republic of Tatarstan ANO has successfully been an intermediary between employers and educational establishments in Tatarstan since 2016. If the first task of the organisation was to prepare for WorldSkills competitions, now it seeks employment for college graduates too, said Director General of the centre Emil Gubaydullin during Realnoe Vremya’s online conference.

“Russia’s accession to WorldSkills gave a stimulus to the development of vocational training”

Mr Gubaydullin, the Centre for Development of Professional Competences is a regional coordination centre of WorldSkills in Tatarstan. Could you tell us more about what your centre is doing now? What is modern vocational training?

The vocational training system went through a huge number of stages, boom and bust. And Russia’s accession to WorldSkills gave a stimulus to the development of vocational training in the country. It is an actively developing systemic task that must train highly qualified specialists who have skills, knowledge complying with the market’s requirements.

How important is the role of the Centre for Development of Professional Competences in the creation of education in Tatarstan and Russia?

In 2012, Russia joined WorldSkills international organisation. Rustam Minnikhanov was one of the initiators of the accession. We didn’t reinvent the wheel, we looked at the best practice in this sphere in the world and decided to declare Kazan’s candidacy for hosting a world championship.

If we analyse all the history of world championships, they all provided an impulse to changes in education. During a bid at the world championship in Brazil in 2015, we won the bid. At the world championship, we had to not only welcome, organise the competition well, but it was also important for us to show the real educational system of our country. It was decided to create a new organisation that would coordinate the work with enterprises, institutions, colleges. This is how the Centre for Development of Professional Competences appeared.

We can single out two projects. Abelimpics movement is an analogue of the WorldSkills movement but for people with disabilities. DigitalSkills sectoral championship is the second project. We will host it for the third time in September

What are the interests of the Centre for Development of Professional Competences?

We started to address this in 2016, and now the range of our activity is huge. It is the organisation of regional championships, training of the regional team, organisation of demo exams by WorldSkills standards, which are now mandatory for college students. We help introduce standards in colleges, help improve infrastructure. We are operators of the federal project Help for Employment and help find a job and upgrade qualifications for different categories of citizens.

We can single out two projects. Abelimpics movement is an analogue of the WorldSkills movement but for people with disabilities. DigitalSkills sectoral championship is the second project. We will host it for the third time in September. The best IT specialists from all over Russia will gather there. They will show how ordinary specialities become digital. For instance, there used to be Fashion Technology, now this specialisation transformed into Digital Designer. Also, we are pleased we and enterprises, institutions speak the same language.

“Our goal is to make sure our graduates find a decent place and salary

You said that many countries spent decades to achieve the current level. Russia’s road turned out to be shorter. There weren’t colleges and resource centres in 2012. How much has everything changed in less than 10 years?

WorldSkills appeared in Spain after World War II to help the economy to overcome hardships and start growing. Russia participated in the world championship for the first time in Germany in 2013. In 2015, we were in the last ten among 60 countries. In Brazil in 2015, we moved to the top 30. In Abu Dhabi in 2017, we were in the top 10. At the home championship, team Russia finished second giving way to team China.

We became second in the world. This shows the dynamics of staff training in Russia. It is not only the merit of competitors but also experts we trained, the infrastructure. Big changes happened in regions: state standards started to be in line with WorldSkills standards. Regions began to buy equipment, enterprises started to launch initiatives and create joint educational organisations or include enterprises in the creation of educational programmes.

We work to make sure that graduates of the movement find a job in enterprises. Our goal is to make sure our graduates find a decent place and salary

You have noted that enterprises are becoming more active. What sectors and companies show the biggest activity? Why do you think this is happening?

We didn’t single out only one sector as a pilot. We need specialists in all the areas. Some regions chose basic spheres, for instance, agriculture and worked with them. We chose basic colleges that will test methods and universities, teachers and anchor enterprises for every speciality.

This document was approved by the Tatarstan prime minister. Tatneft PJSC, TAIF, Kazanorgsintez PJSC, the Gorky Plant supported the areas they are interested in. The Gorky Plant worked with welding, Tatneft PJSC and TAIF did with polymers, prototypes, Bakhetle was interested in confectionery.

We receive funding from them. Enterprises bought equipment for nearly 170 million rubles and handed it over to colleges in 2017. A programme of resource centres with WorldSkills ideals was launched. We work to make sure that graduates of the movement find a job in enterprises. Our goal is to make sure our graduates find a decent place and salary.

“Experts go through a baptism of fire at WorldSkills championships”

You work with two groups of teachers: those who learn and those who teach. Who teaches them?

This is the main problem: the training of modern masters, production masters who would have practical skills and could teach it. Several projects are implemented in this area, Young Professionals federal project is one of them.

Around 5,000 masters retrain during the year free by WorldSkills standards. Also, there are professional development programmes, which are offered by federal universities. We ask college managers to refer teachers there. Experts go through a baptism of fire at WorldSkills championships.

During a demo exam, what a student has learnt in three years is evaluated. A student doesn’t write a thesis, report, their task is to perform a competition task of WorldSkills championship

Thanks to our work with enterprises, core employers, a lot of masters and experts teach in college. They understand from the inside what skills young specialists need to have, understand how it is necessary to work with equipment. A mandatory condition of WorldSkills championships is to have an expert from an enterprise. This year, we have launched a unique venture jointly with Yelabuga Polytechnic College — Yelabuga Polytech educational organisation — on the territory of Alabuga.

Representatives of Alabuga Special Economic Zone noticed that there were received a lot of applications from residents that they needed staff. There was determined a pool of deficient specialities, a building was built and equipped at the expense of Alabuga, a federal programme, our support, the Yelabuga college, and this organisation was created. Workshops by WorldSkills standards are created on its territory. Both college teachers and Alabuga employees teach there.

They teach industrial robotics, electric installation, simultaneously they do internships in enterprises. After training, graduates start working with residents. So there is a synthesis of classic education and practising masters.

What is a demo exam? What is it designed for?

During a demo exam, what a student has learnt in three years is evaluated. A student doesn’t write a thesis, report, their task is to perform a competition task of a WorldSkills championship. There is a clear scale that experts from other organisations use to check the job. For instance, to assess a welder’s job, we look at what welding methods he has learnt, how well he does welding patterns. After the exam, a competitor is given a competence passport where the experience in the championship is described.

After a demo exam, it is spelt out how many points a graduate scored on a scale of 100 points. A competence passport is recognised as a professional qualification document at federal level by Rosatom, Rostech and other enterprises.

In 2017, a thousand graduates passed a demo exam as a pilot project. This year 6,200 are take it. Now it is mandatory for college graduates. It is an analogue of the Unified State Exam that allows comparing lads with each other, graduates of previous years and from other regions.

The lads we started to work with in 2016 and those who are on the national team are notable for their way of thinking, understands, what chances WorldSkills gives them. Some don’t stop with one speciality and get another one

“We start to inculcate love for profession in them from school”

Do you think society understands the real profession?

Yes, lads and parents’ interest in the vocational training system speaks about it. In Russia, about 60% of year nine graduates go to college. Not because they are afraid of taking Unified State Exams. We look at the average point, and it is high, starts from 4 points. Lads want to get a profession and then enter a university.

The lads we started to work with in 2016 and those who are on the national team are notable for their way of thinking, they understand what chances WorldSkills gives them. Some don’t stop with one speciality and get another one. We were the first to start working with a junior movement. All the countries work with lads from 16 to 22. Our championships include juniors: 10-12 years, 12-14 years, 14-16 years. We start to inculcate love for profession in them from school.

How much have the dynamics of the vocational training system and the dynamics of the Centre for Development of Professional Competences changed over this time?

One person worked in the centre at first, now we have over 30 people in different areas. There is a team we invite for projects. We have a team from colleges and experts from all over the republic.

The world changes, requirements for the employee change too. A person should constantly learn. Regulators, educational programmes don’t catch up with changes happening in professions. Our task is to understand in advance what will be topical and what skills one needs to have and add this to the standard.

The most important thing for any person is to find a job to one’s liking. It is necessary to study vacancies in the market. I advise examining the Atlas of Future Professions

“Staff training must be in-person”

What specialities will be in demand in the future?

The most important thing for any person is to find a job to one’s liking. It is necessary to study vacancies in the market. I advise examining the Atlas of Future Professions. It is a collection of professions that will be in demand in 5-10 years. It is created by the Agency for Strategic Initiatives together with Skolkovo specialists. It is an educational magazine about specialities, competences.

If a person is interested in skilled jobs, he or she should be given a chance of developing in this area. Now the world is expanding, and a good specialist can earn a lot of money even working as a plumber to maintain himself and his family.

How has the pandemic influenced the system of vocational training and online education?

The system of vocational training had to adapt to the reality of last spring as the world did. We looked for a new way and learning methods. There is a number of specialities that students can be taught online. But some specialities require classic forms. By the way, WorldSkills became the world’s first organisation that managed to host a championship online.

Jobs were created in colleges, and experts followed the competition online. The experience has shown that such a format is possible, but the education system that has been created in our country and around the world for years is perfect. And staff training must be in-person. It is my personal opinion.

Yekaterina Kharitonova. Photo: Maxim Platonov
Tatarstan