Fuel and energy for young people! Russian Energy Week International Forum in Moscow hosts Youth Day
15 October was Youth Day at the Russian Energy Week International Forum in Moscow. A thousand young specialists, students and school pupils, along with senior figures from government bodies, energy companies, and universities attended the event. Together, they discussed practical issues related to working with young people, and worked to build a youth agenda for the fuel and energy sector in 2022.
REW Youth Day was organized by the Roscongress Foundation, the Ministry of Energy of the Russian Federation, the Moscow City Government, the Knowledge Society of Russia, and the Nadezhnaya Smena Foundation.
The business programme for the closing day of Russian Energy Week included a range of events. These aimed to promote the fuel and energy sector, popularize education in engineering and technical subjects, develop the skills of current and future specialists, facilitate the exchange of best practices for working with young people, and develop a youth policy.
As per tradition, the Youth Day programme centred around an event entitled “An Equitable Dialogue”, which was organized by the Knowledge Society of Russia. Participants had the chance to engage in face-to-face discussions with leading figures from the Russian government, the Ministry of Energy of the Russian Federation, and various energy companies.
Deputy Prime Minister of the Russian Federation Alexander Novak spoke to participants about current trends in the energy sector, issues surrounding the energy transition, the use of renewable energy sources, and the development of new technology in the industry.
“A reduction in the share of hydrocarbons in the economy is a clear and unavoidable trend. As a leading global power in energy, the energy transition represents a chance for our country to remain a leader in terms of technology, and to both diversify traditional energy, and develop clean forms of energy. This will enable us to reduce emissions, improve the situation regarding the climate, and put our scientific capabilities to work. Russia’s strategy is facilitating the development of new branches of traditional energy, as well as of renewable energy sources, clean nuclear power, and hydrogen power. And young people will be the ones to fulfil these objectives and ensure that our country is competitive during the energy transition,” said Novak.
The Deputy Prime Minister took questions from participants on matters concerning the move to electric cars, nuclear power, the modernization of the industry, and dialogue between the government and business community on energy-related issues. In addition, he took part in the award ceremony for the Energy Breakthrough hackathon.
Guests at Youth Day included Alexey Likhachev, Director General at Rosatom State Atomic Energy Corporation; Grigory Berezkin, Chairman of the Board of Directors of ESN Group; Alexander Dyukov, Chairman of the Management Board and Chief Executive Officer of Gazprom Neft; Anton Maximov, Director of the Topchieva Institute of Petrochemical Synthesis of the Russian Academy of Sciences; and Yi Cui, Director of the Precourt Institute for Energy and winner of the Global Energy Prize. A lively dialogue involving students and young specialists covered issues such as managing demand in the electric power industry, and striking a balance between green and traditional forms of energy.
The CASE-IN International Engineering Championship and the MediaTEK Special League both held a special place in the Youth Day programme.
Twelve teams comprising of young people from different companies took part in the REW Cup. Their task was to develop ways of transferring their company’s energy facilities to remote operation and to describe the technical and economic effect this would have on the company and wider industry. While working on the case study, the young specialists collaborated with technical personnel, and focused on a strategy of digitalizing their companies. They also studied Russia’s 2035 energy development strategy and the Ministry of Energy of the Russian Federation’s Digital Energy project.
The MediaTEK Special League first took place as part of REW Youth Day in 2019. This year’s event was organized by the Nadezhnaya Smena Foundation and Tomsk Polytechnic University. The main idea behind MediaTEK is to foster communication between the professional community and general public. Students from eight different universities participated in the event. Their task was to compile a rating of fuel and energy companies based on their appeal as potential employers. They also developed recommendations for companies with critical values to help them become leaders in the labour market by 2030.
Coming away with the championship was the AVA team from Tomsk Polytechnic University’s Power Engineering School, whose rating of best employers in the nuclear sector was topped by Power Machines, Balakovo Nuclear Power Plant, and Leningrad Nuclear Power Plant. Coming in second was the WeWatt team from St. Petersburg Mining University, whose rating was topped by ALROSA Diamond Company, SIBUR, and Polyus. Coming away with bronze was the BERGBAU team from Perm National Research Polytechnic University, who named the best employers in the fuel and energy sector as SIBUR, LUKOIL, and SUEK.
The CASE-IN International Engineering Championship (REW Cup) has been a feature of Youth Day since 2017. Taking part in the competition were 12 teams of young people representing various fuel and energy companies. They were given a scenario whereby they had to transfer their company’s power supply facilities to remote operation. This task reflects one of the aims of Russia’s 2035 energy strategy.
Coming away with the title was the Northern Lights team from Rosseti North-West. Silver medals went to the NLMK Olympians, while Not Random People from the Udmurt branch of T Plus took bronze.
“As we mark the Year of Science and Technology in Russia, we give recognition to the talented and focused young people we have in our country, who even now are advancing new ways of thinking about energy. The Ministry of Science and Higher Education of the Russian Federation is keen for the engineering and technical professions to become even more prestigious, and for the subjects to remain popular options for young people. In order to achieve this, we are running and supporting initiatives aimed at making engineering and technical education more popular. We are also working to get young specialists into the fuel, energy, and minerals sector,” said Oleg Dyachenko, Head of Social Projects at the Department of Youth Policy and Educational Activities at the Ministry of Science and Higher Education of the Russian Federation. “The CASE-IN Championship is helping to boost engineering skills and knowledge among young people, and it enables them to not only propose their own innovative solutions, but to see them implemented in practice,”
Since the 2017 edition of Youth Day at Russian Energy Week, students and young specialists have presented their Global Youth Outlook for the Development of the Energy Sector. This year’s consolidated outlook was presented by the winners of the initiative, made up of teams from St. Petersburg Mining University, the Peter the Great St. Petersburg Polytechnic University, St. Petersburg State University of Architecture and Civil Engineering, Gazprom Neft, Neftisa Oil Company, and SO UPS.
“This year, the youngsters raised some of the most pressing matters on our agenda, including the future of hydrogen power and prospects for renewable energy. They also analysed new energy resources and key issues related to supplying energy to the Arctic. The application of digital technology to make energy systems control more effective also formed an integral part of their efforts. Everyone who took part in the outlook did an excellent job,” said Anastasiya Bondarenko, State Secretary and Deputy Minister of Energy of the Russian Federation.
Deputy Minister of Energy of the Russian Federation Pavel Sorokin remarked on the quality of the analysis performed by the participants, and passed on his recommendations; “It is heartening to see that the participants’ perspectives are in line with the guiding principles we have set out. The competitors’ approach was the right one in terms of what is needed today. However, not quite enough attention was given to the financial side of things. So, when you become important specialists, and find yourselves focusing on creating outlooks, do try to examine developments from an economic point of view, and assess the ramifications.”
Deputy Director of the Youth Policy Department at the Ministry of Science and Higher Education of the Russian Federation Alexander Vedekhin commented that the greatest reward to participants for their hard work was the opportunity for them to join the industry’s professional community at REW.
“Dedicated and talented young people – a group to which our participants undoubtedly belong – are determining the key role played by science, technology, and higher education in addressing the challenges faced by Russia’s economy and industry. What’s more, they are able to see how the world is evolving, and can apply this knowledge to shape the industry agenda of tomorrow. I urge you not to rest on your laurels, and to continue building up your skills,” Vedekhin said.
Each year, Youth Day serves as a platform to discuss youth policy as it relates to the industry. A roundtable entitled “The Fuel and Energy sector for Young People” brought together 33 of the biggest employers in the industry. The organizations set out their plans for 2022, and also developed forms of support, coordination, and collaboration for the “Fuel and Energy Sector for Young People” plan for 2022. The latter initiative was a collaborative effort, which also involved senior figures from the Ministry of Energy of the Russian Federation, the Ministry of Science and Higher Education of the Russian Federation, the Federal Agency for Youth Affairs (Rosmolodezh), and the Russia, Land of Opportunity non-profit organization.
General Director of the Russia, Land of Opportunity presidential platform Alexei Komissarov spoke on how the “Fuel and Energy Sector for Young People” plan outlined support for the CASE-IN Championship. “The CASE-IN International Engineering Championship became a part of our platform in 2019. It enables school pupils to earn additional points towards their state exams, which can already be used to enrol at 42 universities. Students also have the opportunity to study for a master’s degree and other post-graduate qualifications on preferential terms, and to get work experience or an internship at a continuously growing pool of employers. For young specialists, the championship serves as a driver of professional and career growth. Today, all our initiatives and competitions are open to participants in the CASE-IN Championship. Every school pupil, student, or young specialist has the chance to discover for themselves an interesting project for the event, which will enable them to learn something new and to unlock their potential. There is no shortage of examples of CASE-IN participants enjoying success in our other initiatives, Olympiads, and competitions. It is our hope that initiatives by the Russia – Land of Opportunity platform will be popular and beneficial to young people in the fuel and energy sector”.
Deputy Head of the Federal Agency for Youth Affairs Pavel Abramov noted that there were 40 million young people in Russia today, and that support for them was being widely discussed in the government. “Rosmolodezh, together with its partners, is putting a big emphasis on this endeavour. In particular, we run the Russian National Grant Competition for young people aged between 14 and 35. Entrants have the chance to try their hand across a range of areas, such as volunteering, mass media, healthy lifestyles, the institution of family, and many more. Winners are offered grants of up to RUB 3 million. With initiatives such as these, we are encouraging young people to make big new discoveries, helping them to unearth their talents at a national level, and giving them a major career boost,” he said.
Director of the Nadezhnaya Smena Foundation Artem Korolev shared the results of a study on youth policy conducted amongst 44 companies in the fuel and energy sector: “Sixty-four per cent of companies have a dedicated graduate recruitment programme. The most common ways companies work with universities is through targeted programmes, placement programmes, and joint events (52%). Twenty-five per cent of companies are involved in supporting initiatives and competitions by the Russia – Land of Opportunity presidential platform, particularly the CASE-IN Engineering Championship, the Leaders of Russia competition, the Student of the Year competition, and others. In addition, 19% offer scholarship programmes at universities, buy equipment, etc.”
A number of #ENERGYLAB interactive sessions also took place throughout Youth Day. These involved teams of students and young specialists designing technological and social projects, which they then defended in front of a panel of experts.
The best ideas were then presented to participants and honoured guests at a concluding session entitled The Energy of Youth Initiatives 2022. Among those in attendance were State Secretary and Deputy Minister of Energy of the Russian Federation Anastasiya Bondarenko, and Deputy General Director of Russia, Land of Opportunity Anton Serikov.
Among the student ideas to be awarded was a design by the Peter the Great St. Petersburg Polytechnic University for floating production complexes to develop offshore deposits; an energy information resource by St. Petersburg University of Economics; the EnergoYamal innovation and technological polygon by St. Petersburg Mining University; a project entitled Hydrogen Nakhodka by the Lomonosov Northern (Arctic) Federal University; a project entitled A Smart Solar-Powered Greenhouse by LETI St. Petersburg Electrotechnical University; a career-guidance-based board game entitled EvoEnergy by Nizhnevartovsk State University, and a project entitled A School for International Youth Cooperation in Energy by MGIMO University.
The best projects by the young specialists included a smart power unit control system for a combined cycle power plant by Mosenergo; a volunteering centre called We Care! by Rosatom; a project by Tatneft entitled Artificial Muscles; a project by Gazpromneft Lubricants for a biodegradable jerrycan produced in-house; a project by T PLUS entitled Communal Jungles; and a project by Tatneft entitled Working for a Greener Region.
Youth Day also hosted a number of meetings of youth industry associations. These included the #Young_Engineers in Fuel and Energy Community, the BRICS Youth Energy Agency, and the Ministry of Energy of the Russian Federation’s Electric Power Youth Council. Roundtables, foresight sessions, and a series of open lectures took place throughout the day. One notable event was a panel session entitled “Sharing Best Practices for Inter-Corporate Communities of Youth Specialists”.
In addition, a number of universities organized their own events, including LETI St. Petersburg Electrotechnical University; Irkutsk National Research Technical University; St. Petersburg State University of Economics; the Gorbachev Kuzbass State Technical University; Lipetsk State Technical University; and Moscow State University of Civil Engineering.
Leaders from Young_Engineers in Fuel and Energy – a Russian national community founded in 2020 – came together for an educational programme entitled New Skills for a New World in order to develop R&D-related proposals for fuel and energy companies. The programme was organized by LETI St. Petersburg Electrotechnical University.
“Your work is not just about training the intellect. The people behind the best ideas will have the chance to present them at an international conference entitled ‘Young Engineers in the Fuel and Energy Sector: Developing the Energy Agenda of the Future’, which is set to take place this December in St. Petersburg. They will also have the chance to publish their work,” said Deputy General Director of Russia, Land of Opportunity Anton Serikov.
As in previous years, REW also hosted the final of the Russian National Competition of Graduation Theses in Electric Power and Electrical Engineering, which took place under the auspices of the Russian National Committee of CIGRE and Rosseti FGC UES. The operator of the competition – the Nadezhnaya Smena Foundation – brought together bachelor’s and master’s degree recipients from 14 leading technical universities. Coming away as winners were bachelor’s degree recipients from Kuzbass State Technical University, Kazan State Power Engineering University, and Tomsk Polytechnic University; and master’s degree recipients from the Peter the Great St. Petersburg Polytechnic University, Kaliningrad State Technical University, and Ivanovo Power Engineering University.
Elsewhere, the Content Foundation for Expertise and Analysis held a panel discussion in cooperation with the Youth Council for the Oil and Gas Industry under the Ministry of Energy of the Russian Federation. The event focused on industrial cooperation with regard to Generation Z, ways of building up motivation in the industry in Russia, ESG, CSR, and forming a talent pool from school age. Attendees concluded that money was not the only important factor for adolescents considering their future career, but also a company’s environmental performance, as well as their climate and social responsibility profile.
A number of events at Youth Day were held especially for school pupils. The Assistance Fund for the Reform of the Housing and Utilities Sector, together with the Green Paintbrush Careers Guidance Initiative organized Ecofest, together with a range of master classes entitled Smart Home, The Second Life of Waste, An Eco Lifestyle, Mission Protect, and Cool Decibels. Participants also worked on crosswords and pictorial puzzles on topics including housing and utilities, the environment, and energy efficiency.
As the day drew to a close, Minister of Energy of the Russian Federation Nikolai Shulginov joined the participants as honoured guest. He took part in the award ceremony for prize-winners of Youth Day’s various competitions, including the REW Cup, the MediaTEK Special League, the Global Youth Outlook for the Development of the Energy Sector, the IT Championship for the Oil Industry, and the Russian National Competition of Graduation Theses in Electric Power and Electrical Engineering. He also awarded prizes to the team captains who emerged as winners at the #ENERGYLAB Interactive Sessions on Youth Projects Dedicated to the Development of the Fuel and Energy Sector.
“The talented young people who took part in these competitions form a strong basis for the development of Russia’s fuel and energy sector. I have familiarized myself with a range of their work, and I am convinced that the competition winners have indeed immersed themselves in the field of energy,” Shulginov said.
The Russian Energy Week International Forum closed with a celebration in honour of the generations of workers who contributed to the development of the electric power industry. The ERA Russia Association presented the results of an initiative entitled “Working Across the Generations – 100 Years of Electric Power”, which commemorated the centenary of the Soviet Union’s electrification plan. Nikolai Shulginov presented awards to representatives of each generation, noting that more than a million people work in the electric power industry, with a third being under 35 years of age.
“For many people, the choice of a career in the energy industry has been down to family, given that their parents – or the parents of their parents – chose this path in their time. And this multi-generational tradition has helped create a safety buffer for the industry, and fosters immense respect,” Shulginov said.