On 30 March 2022, Svetlana Zudina, Head of Talent Assessment and Management at Polyus, took part in a webinar held by RAEX, Russia’s leading credit rating agency. The series of RAEX Sustainability webinars focused on sustainability topics. The panelists discussed some examples of mutually beneficial cooperation between corporations and educational institutions and their graduates.
Svetlana elaborated on Polyus’ career enhancement programs and presented the Polyus Class educational project. Polyus is one of the largest gold mining companies in Russia with over 20,000 employees. The Company is preparing to launch a new large-scale project to develop the Sukhoi Log deposit. Therefore, the primary task for HR is to provide sufficient employees to fill vacant positions and cover the Company’s needs for skilled workers for the next 5–10 years.
The Company’s research into the domestic labor market has shown that there is a lack of mining and geology graduates. Since 2016, the number of undergraduates studying subjects that are in high demand across the gold mining industry fell by almost 50%. This has been driven by the following factors identified among school students:
- Insufficient knowledge or awareness of technical and engineering specializations
- The belief that educational programs for future technicians and engineers are complex and inaccessible for a wide range of people
- The misperception that engineering jobs in metals and mining are unsuitable for women
- The clustering of educational institutions and the need to relocate to enroll and study.
Therefore, Polyus highlighted two main aspects of career guidance for school students:
- Improving the profile of engineering professions by, for example, conducting career guidance seminars for students in years 7–11 with the Company’s specialists, posting content on social media regarding professions and working with educational organizations to attract applicants
- Enhancing the education process related to core disciplines by providing, for example, additional training courses in chemistry, physics and mathematics to help students pass unified national exams and enroll in engineering educational institutions that raise qualified specialists for the Company. The programs are designed for year 10 and 11 students as part of the Polyus Class project and for those who pass the application process.
During the first year of the Polyus Class project, approximately one thousand school students took part in career guidance events organized by the Company. Of these students, 577 expressed an interest in the project and applied for the selection procedure, while 69 entered by winning academic competitions. Meetings were held with potential students and their parents to find out how serious they were about becoming an engineer and their parents’ willingness to support them. As a result, 20 people were enrolled with Polyus Class and are taking an additional course, provided absolutely free of charge, that dives deeper into the subject. As a reminder, the Polyus Class project is carried out together with the Siberian Federal University.
According to Svetlana Zudina, all stakeholders support the project. Students and their parents get a better understanding of the opportunities provided by engineering professions, teachers are interested in improving the performance of their students through the additional training courses and the Company is building a pool of potential candidates for job vacancies.
The pilot project was launched in the Krasnoyarsk Territory and is slated for full-scale rollout across the other regions of Polyus’ operations.
You can watch the webinar here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IzsLmqARCck