Vladimir Litvinenko proposed that UNESCO declare 2023 the year of Mining Engineer
He articulated his initiative at the conference dedicated to the creation of an international unified system of competences for specialists in the mineral complex and raw materials complex.
On Thursday, November 19, the International online forum "Advanced engineering competencies - the future of the mining industry" was held. It was attended by the Rector of St. Petersburg Mining University Vladimir Litvinenko, Deputy Director General of UNESCO Shamila Nair-Bodule, Deputy RF Energy Minister Anastasia Bondarenko, Executive Directors of the Russian Gas Society Roman Samsonov and British Institute IOM3 Colin Church, Chairman of Shell in Russia Cederic Kremer, CEO of the World Petroleum Council Pierce Rimer, rectors of the Leoben Mining University (Austria) Wilfried Eichelseder, Song Xufeng Mining and Technology University of China, Krakow Mining and Metallurgical Academy (Poland) Jerzy Lis and many other reputed experts. During the panel discussions, they debated on the competencies that present-day engineers should have and how important changes in their training system are for sustainable development.
Vladimir Litvinenko, opening the conference, noted that the activities of public companies should be based on professionalism, experience, and new knowledge. Only in this case they will be able to ensure the future growth of production profitability without sacrificing labor safety and environmental protection. In order to achieve this, it is essential to continuously work on improving the level of competence of personnel. Otherwise, the management of such high-tech sectors as oil and gas and mining get into the hands of ignorant managers.
But how one can know whether the level of training of engineers meets the requirements of today? Are they aware of the latest trends in scientific and technological progress? Are they able to operate modern equipment, which by its characteristics is comparable to innovations applied in space? An effective mechanism to answer these questions is the International Competence Center in Mining Engineering Education under the auspices of UNESCO, established in St. Petersburg on the basis of Mining University.
"One of the tasks of the UNESCO Center is to prepare unified threshold requirements for mining engineers. This work involves our colleagues from many countries, including the UK, China, Austria and so on, and its essence is to create a unified international system of certification. In order to obtain the status of a professional mining engineer, a specialist needs to pass an exam for knowledge of professional standards by experts from the Competence Center. Naturally, the accreditation process in different countries should take into account local specifics, but the minimum requirements for all engineers in the world should be the same. This will allow them to increase their career prospects and work anywhere in the world without taking additional national examinations or proving their competence - those will be understandable. And the public companies that have a high percentage of certified engineers will significantly increase their capitalization,” explained the Chairman of the Board of Governors of the UNESCO Center, Rector of Mining University Vladimir Litvinenko, drawing attention to the fact that the forum is attended by representatives of the London Stock Exchange.
Shamila Nair-Bodule, Deputy Director General of UNESCO, emphasized that "raw materials are necessary for the global economy" and therefore "the world simply will not survive without mining". That is why advanced training of engineers is one of the most important tasks that the UN faces today. Without its solution, it is impossible to achieve sustainable development goals.
"We are at the crossroads of the further evolution of society. Our demands are growing, we need more energy, metals, fossil fuels. In order to provide mankind with all this, but at the same time to take into account the interests of future generations, we must maintain a high level of competence in the mining industry. The Center in St. Petersburg, based at Mining University, is our key partner in this field. We are honored to cooperate with it, 96 countries are involved in our work," said Ms. Nair-Beduel.
All participants in the discussion endorsed the idea of mandatory certification for the status of a professional mining engineer, which aims to reduce the shortage of qualified personnel in the mineral complex. In their speeches, they introduced a number of initiatives aimed at improving the quality of human capital in the industry and singled out the need for universities, specialized companies and professional communities to work together in this area. Thus, Rolando Zanotelli, Managing Director of the Swiss bank Vontobel, compared mining with the banking sector and said that they have a lot in common.
"Sometimes we fight for talents in the labor market as well as mining companies. That’s so because the quality of human capital is extremely important in any industry. Of course, the implementation of certification will improve it. It will eliminate dishonest employees, give a signal to investors that the investments into projects of companies participating in the certification program are high-margin. It is also good for career growth of employees. They will be able to get promoted or work in a more status holding," Rolando Zanotelli shared his opinion.
Concluding the forum, Vladimir Litvinenko proposed to UNESCO to declare 2023 the Year of Mining Engineer. Timed to the 250th anniversary of the founding of the first technical university of Russia, according to its rector, this will be “a symbol of elation of enthusiasm in the industry.”