Sticking point: youth migration from small towns

How Tatarstan industrialists bring up specialists for their plants

Sticking point: youth migration from small towns

The industry lacks qualified workers. There is an outflow of youth from small towns, which poses a risk of socio-economic degradation of the region. A tough situation unfolds in the Kama agglomeration 80% of graduates leave. It is planned to solve the problem of staff shortage at the level of the Tatarstan government. At the moment, the authorities are developing a special programme, large enterprises continue fighting for talents. Read in Realnoe Vremya’s report how the youth is attracted to factories.

Small towns are losing workers

One of the main problems of economically developed Tatarstan is a shortage of workforce. The republic falls short of 60,000 workers. This issue was brought up at a meeting of the Tatarstan Ministry of Industry and Trade with Tatarstan President Rustam Minnikhanov. The event took place at Alabuga Polytech.

The highest demand for specialists today is from the mechanical engineering sector — it is 17,600 people, 5,000 people are needed in chemistry and gas and chemistry, 1,200 people in oil production and oil refining. According to experts, a demographic pit, inflation, remote work, an outflow of youth from small towns are among the reasons. As hh.ru claims, the level of professional competition in Tatarstan keeps falling.

“With comfortable figures for the labour market equal to 5-6 active CVs per vacancy, now there are just 3,4 resumes per offer in general. An anti-record in 2021 was set in June: there were just 3,3 resumes per vacancy. Throughout last year, the average competition level in the region didn’t exceed 5 resumes per offer, which allows concluding there is a staff deficit,” Alexandra Sevostyanova, head of the press service at hh.ru Volga Region, told Realnoe Vremya.

The staff deficit is especially perceptible in small towns. The youth try to enter universities in capitals, after graduation from them they don’t return. Kazan students willingly find a job in local enterprises. Take Kazanorgsintez. Several educational establishments at once train specialists for it. It is the Kazan Lushnikov Petrochemical College, Kazan National Research Technological University, Kazan Federal University, Kazan State Power Engineering University, the Institute of Economics, Management and Law and others. More than 700 students did practice at Kazanorgsintez in 2021 alone.

The youth try to enter universities in capital. After graduation from them they don't return. Photo: Maxim Platonov

A special programme adopted by the Tatarstan government is due to solve the problem of youth outflow in small towns. The final meeting of the Tatarstan Ministry of Industry and Trade didn’t accidentally take place this year in the eastern industrial cluster Alabuga Special Economic Zone where Alabuga Polytech recently opened. College students learn a speciality that’s in demand in the special economic zone and immediately find a job.

Besides this, Alabuga has an educational corporate university programme that envisages learning from the world’s leading companies’ top managers, directors of all 20 operating factories of the special economic zone.

KAMAZ needs 4,000 workers

Naberezhnye Chelny is trying to handle the migration of the youth. KAMAZ workers are working with schoolchildren on career guidance, the factory already lacks 4,000 workers nowadays.

KAMAZ lacks 4,000 workers. Photo: kremlin.ru

To ease the tension in the labour market, KAMAZ and Kazan Aviation Institute opened the first engineering class in School No. 30. The enterprise’s Research & Development Centre whose specialists train the students takes care of the lads. The classes yield a result: the students successfully participate in various start-ups, deal with real production cases, create and implement professional projects.

The employees of KAMAZ also tell students of Kazan National Research Technological University, Kazan Federal University, Vasilyev Kama State Automotive College, Naberezhnye Chelny Polytechnic College and Potashov Technical College what KAMAZ is, what possibilities of career development the workers have.

Students of these educational establishments can do practice at KAMAZ and be employed in the future.

“It is very important that enterprises participate in staff training. KAMAZ, the Gorbunov Kazan Aircraft Engineering Association, many automotive and aircraft engineering enterprises almost create departments in universities. And heads of subdivisions of these enterprises teach in many resource centres, they prepare people to replace them at university,” Minister of Labour and Employment of Tatarstan Elmira Zaripova said in an interview.

Nizhnekamsk fights for talents

There is an outflow of youth in Nizhnekamsk as well as in many other Tatarstan cities. Only 20% of school graduates stay in their home towns. As Realnoe Vremya was told in the Nizhnekamsk Labour and Employment Centre, 99% of local colleges and universities find a job in backbone enterprises of the city: TANECO, KAMA TYRES, TAIF-NK, Nizhnekamskneftekhim residents of Priority Socio-Economic Development Areas and others. There is a real fight for talents.

“Nizhnekamsk factories do a lot of work to attract the youth, closely cooperate with related educational establishments. Students are offered social programmes, a preferential mortgage. Mentorship is very developed in the enterprises, it is when a young employee is supervised by a more experienced specialist. This staff policy is very effective,” says head of Nizhnekamsk’s Employment Centre Nail Iskhakov.

TAIF-NK oil refinery attracts the youth with a double learning format. Photo: Rinat Nazmetdinov

Factory workers start to look for future employees from year one in college or university. For instance, TAIF-NK oil refinery attracts the youth with a double learning format. It is when college students do practice in the factory and continue studying.

“They are already fully-fledged members of the company, and after graduation they either go to the army or continue working. Like all TAIF-NK JSC workers, the students fully receive a good salary. So the enterprise gets an employee, while the graduate doesn’t spend time on professional adaptation. An agreement was signed with Kazan National Research Technological University in summer too,” says Anton Tukhvatullin, head of the technical training group at TAIF-NK JSC.

Nizhnekamskneftekhim hires more than 300 graduates of specialised educational institutions every year. As a result, more than 40% of the enterprise’s employees are workers under 35. And few employers can boast about such a young staff today. How did this become possible? Director General of the company Ayrat Safin said that staff selection starts as early as at school.

Nizhnekamskneftekhim hires more than 300 graduates of specialised educational institutions every year. Photo: Maxim Platonov

“Today 15 in 33 schools of the city are partners of Nizhnekamskneftekhim where teachers work on career guidance. Last year, Neftekhim Classes opened in School No. 36 and Lyceum No. 37,” said the Nizhnekamskneftekhim director general.

Excursions to plants, master classes and Olympiads are organised for schoolchildren. After year nine, the lads can make a decision themselves — to go to study in the basic Lemayev Petrochemistry and Oil Processing College or continue studying in years 10 and 11 and then enter Nizhnekamsk Chemical and Technological Institute.

They try to attract Lemayev college students with production internships, quotes for higher education, participation in scientific conferences and skills competitions. The double learning system raises the quality of training of future employees.

“Nizhnekamskneftekhim doesn’t wait for a graduate to come to work. The enterprise starts monitoring students from year one. The enterprise knows how the lads prepare because they themselves participate in this and perfectly understand what specialist joins them. A student is individually accompanied. Also, together with the enterprise we launch new modules and competencies to the learning process, it is very promising,” says Director of the Lemayev college Aydar Faretdinov.

The Lemayev college tries to attracts students with production internships, quotes for higher education, participation in scientific conferences and skills competitions. Photo: Maxim Platonov

Nizhnekamsk Chemical and Technological Institute is another educational partner of Nizhnekamskneftekhim. The Federal Experimental Site, which allows its students to find a job in the enterprise during studies, has been operating in the enterprise for more than 20 years.

Development of campus in Nizhnekamsk Chemical and Technological Institute

Due to the implementation of Nizhnekamskneftekhim’s investment programme through 2030, before the appearance of a staff deficit, the Tatarstan government and SIBUR made a decision to create an advanced research and educational centre in Nizhnekamsk Chemical and Technological Institute for 2,5 billion rubles.

“Russian President Vladimir Putin supported this idea. The number of our graduates cannot meet all the needs of the real sector of the economy. Rustam Minnikhanov set us a task: to create offers to solve the problem. There was created a big task force with workers of the administration, schools, the college and our university. As a result, the institute’s development strategy through 2030 was born,” said Director of NCTI Ildar Akhmetov.

The Tatarstan government and SIBUR made a decision to create an advanced research and educational centre in Nizhnekamsk Chemical and Technological Institute for 2,5 billion rubles. Photo: Maxim Platonov

The campus will have several centres — engineering, linguistic, digital competencies and technological entrepreneurship. According to head of the district’s Executive Committee Ramil Mullin, the new educational centre will become a stimulus for the youth.

“They will be able to get an education not only in petrochemistry and oil refining but also other market segments that are in demand in Nizhnekamsk today,” he stressed.

Also, Nizhnekamskneftekhim created its road map to provide new plants of the enterprise with specialists.

“Before the start of the investment programme, we cared about staff training. We will rest on our employees. We have huge potential. We have 1,950 people with high education in the talent pool. We will also rest on the students whom we select during the studies. There was created a plan of cooperation with educational establishments through 2030, our annual needs are spelt out,” Ayrat Safin said.

Petrochemistry is the republic’s second-biggest cluster

At the meeting of the Tatarstan Ministry of Industry and Trade, Tatarstan Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Industry and Trade Albert Karimov stressed that the creation of the research and educational campus in Nizhnekamsk, the construction of the ethylene complex and re-equipment of the halobutyl rubber plant of Nizhnekamskneftekhim was one of the main tasks for the next years.

“The republic’s second-largest cluster closely related with oil production and oil refining is the chemical cluster. Nizhnekamskneftekhim and Kazanorgsintez, which recently became part of SIBUR, are its core,” he noted.

The prospects of investment projects at Nizhnekamskneftekhim and Kazanorgsintez as well as the training of young staff were discussed. Photo: Maxim Platonov

Albert Karimov added that the cooperation with SIBUR was active. The Tatarstan Ministry of Industry and Trade hosted the first meeting of an intergovernmental group within a cooperation agreement signed between the Tatarstan government and SIBUR Holding. The prospects of investment projects at Nizhnekamskneftekhim and Kazanorgsintez as well as the training of young staff were discussed.

According to a study of FutureToday consultancy, SIBUR was in the top 3 best companies hiring university students.

“The success of any production is based on people regardless of its scale. The task in general is to create an organisation that would be the best, most attractive employer. But we understand that this issue cannot be resolved only with a quantitative approach. Today there are technical possibilities to automate production processes. Not quantitative but qualitative figures of specialists’ training are going to the forefront. There is a fight for talents,” Mikhail Karisalov noted at the meeting of the Tatarstan Ministry of Industry and Trade.

According to a study of FutureToday consultancy, SIBUR was in the top 3 best companies hiring university students. Photo: Maxim Platonov

About 500 graduates of leading universities of the sector annually join SIBUR’s enterprises. The company implements two youth programmes. First Element is designed for university and college graduates for initial jobs. Trajectory is aimed at students with a bachelor and master’s degrees with further employment.

“We have big plans for cooperation at Nizhnekamskneftekhim, Kazanorgsintez and energy projects. SIBUR continues its investment programmes, actively participates in social projects,” Rustam Minnikhanov highlighted the prospects of further cooperation.

Liliya Yegorova