Eight years ago, NIS identified the problem of shortages of professional staff in the fields of its business needs, in particular in natural and technical sciences, as well as a need for the modernization of technologies and methods of work. To these ends, the company set about with the aim of improving educational programs and creating more modern working conditions.
It was for this reason that NIS launched its Energy of Knowledge program in 2012, in recognition of a mismatch between the supply and demand of personnel upon the labour market, with the end goal of improving the educational system and providing staff for its requirements. Ever since then, I have headed up a team that implements various activities with the aim of enhancing cooperation between the company and scientific and educational institutions in Serbia, and also in the Russian Federation.
Cooperation through the Energy of Knowledge program includes cooperation with schools and scientific societies in Serbia, and collaboration with universities and colleges in Serbia, the region, and the Russian Federation, as well as a program that focuses upon individuals, i.e. student scholarships.
Cooperation with higher education institutions includes collaborating with faculties that work within the scope of the company’s business activities, and includes scholarships for students at these faculties, guest lectures by faculty professors and NIS experts, field visits to
the company’s operations, and implementation of joint research projects.
NIS cooperates with 2 universities in Serbia and a further 8 universities throughout the region and in the Russian Federation, as well as over 30 faculties and 3 scientific societies.
In its cooperation with secondary schools, NIS supports the organization of competitions in the natural sciences
(mathematics, physics and chemistry) and the Russian language across all levels.
In 2016, we became the first company to receive the prestigious Saint Sava’s Award for our contribution to education in Serbia, awarded by the Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Development of the Government of the Republic of Serbia. We are recognized as a company that has contributed to the improvement of educational conditions in institutions throughout Serbia through our Energy of Knowledge corporate program.
To date, our company has employed almost 50 students who were previously recipients of NIS scholarships, of whom 26 have graduated from universities in the Russian Federation and returned to Serbia to begin their professional careers with us. All of these graduated from faculties working in oil- and gas-related disciplines.
Currently we have 20 scholars who are due to start their careers at NIS after completing their studies.
The 21st century is characterized by a race in terms of technological development, but also a race for the provision of human resources required to tackle the digitalisation process.
And NIS, as one of the largest companies in the region, has taken up this challenge. In addition to the digitalisation process within the company itself, we want to encourage the advancement of young professionals through cooperation with part
ner faculties in this field. At Niš’s Faculty of Electrical Engineering, we plan to equip the laboratory with modern computers and programs as early as the first part of 2020. We plan to open similar laboratories in cooperation with the Faculty of Technical Sciences in Novi Sad, as well as the Faculty of Electrical Engineering in Belgrade. Through these actions, we will create conditions for the implementation of various projects, and improve teaching and learning conditions for students, in order to ensure the provision of an appropriate labour force for the future.
I would like to take this opportunity to stress that we already have exceptional experience of cooperation with colleagues at all three of the aforementioned faculties, and that this synergy and mutual trust, as well as a future-oriented approach, form the basic preconditions for our progress. By creating the conditions for young people to work, develop and thrive, we also create a chance to retain them.
Money is not the only motive for leaving Serbia: much more often it is a desire to advance, improve, and seek an environment in which this can be achieved.
I’m an optimist. I always have been. Having worked on this program – which few believed would be so successful – for eight years, today I am proud of my colleagues and the company’s scholarship holders, who – thus far – have been assisted in their educational journey by the Energy of Knowledge programme. Guided by their successes, NIS continues to provide opportunities and invest in science and education for the new generations, in order to keep us competent and competitive in the future.
The age in which we live certainly poses new challenges and gives rise to new requirements. I believe that it is necessary to strive for the creation of a critical mass of adequately educated professionals, and the primary factor in creating this is the uncompromising and continuous adaptation of education and the educational system, and its adaptation to the needs of rapid-paced development and the labour market.
It is imperative that a system in which education is a matter of pride is re-established. In order for this to happen, however, a positive attitude toward knowledge needs to be instilled, and content must be placed above form once again. Education must become a valued and important personal goal, with a desire for the pursuit of continuous and high-quality education, which also includes reliable information on contemporary trends and needs in all segments of life.
I believe that education, as a pillar of society’s progress, should become one of the basic factors of social status, leading to the re-affirmation and redefinition of the role of the educational elite.