STUDY UNTIL RETIREMENT

Togliattiazot is ready to provide free training in new professions to older generation.

Public Joint-Stock Company Togliattiazot plans to launch an educational project for those over 50 and older since January next year: all comers will be able to undergo retraining and professional development free of charge at the expense of the local backbone enterprise, rather than under any governmental programs or on commercial terms.

- As a matter of fact, the activities in this area have been initiated by recent proposals for the introduction of changes into the pension system, explains Yulia Petrenko, Deputy General Director - Director for Public Relations. We realise that many people might face a difficult situation, if nobody helps them. We have decided to develop the program for training and retraining of people aged 50 and over at the expense of the plant. We plan to retrain both the plant employees (which we are actively doing now) and the city and region residents that have shown interest and passed certain selection procedure.

In order to determine the actual demand for retraining of elderly people, a social investigation has been performed involving more than one thousand people between the ages of 50 and 70 in Togliatti. Thus, 72 % of those under 60 years old are interested in training. Which lines of activities are preferred? These are foreign languages, computer literacy, fundamentals of entrepreneurship, as well as landscaping, and cooking.

- For now, we intend to focus on the first three lines. We have yet to develop the programs, recruit the teachers both from among the company employees, for example from the training centre which has been successfully operating within the plant for many years, and from outside. We plan to form the first group of 20-30 trainees by the end of this year, and thus to start training from the beginning of next year. In the future, we will increase the number of groups and areas of training, as more experience is gained, and the actual economic needs of the city are revealed, says Yulia Petrenko.

The proponents of the initiative are convinced that such investments in training will not be wasted. Elderly people are more motivated on obtaining the required skills, not mere wallpaper degrees, than the younger generations.

The head of Administration in Komsomolsky district, Togliatti, Artem Anisimov shares this opinion. He considers that this new initiative of Togliattiazot is extremely important for people of preretirement age.

Being the local backbone enterprise, Togliattiazot intends to retrain both the plant employees and the citizens of the region as a whole.

- I personally know many active people, he says, that come to the Administration and offer their services, regardless of their age. Having their potential, they often do equally as well as the young people and in some respects surpass them.

However, this initiative has not been unanimously welcomed. According to the survey results, more than one fourth of the surveyed are not ready to study. They either trust their own forces and the knowledge obtained before or are doubtful of the effectiveness of such external assistance with training.

Of course, TOAZ officials are not pioneers in this area, but still elderly people have been trained by governmental services. For three years now, the employment service of the Samara Region has been offering professional development and additional training to pensioners planning to resume their professional life. Training is organised with regard to the professions being in demand in the current market, free of charge. According to the Ministry of Labour, Employment and Migration Policy in the Samara Region, 492 people had received such training by now. A project with similar underlying message has been presented in the neighbouring Ulyanovsk Region recently: they plan to promote the so-called ‘silver entrepreneurship’ under the auspices of the Regional Development Corporation.

Having examined the initiative of TOAZ officials, Pavel Degtyar, Deputy Chairman of the Ulyanovsk Region Government, concluded that any educational programs focused on the professional development and retraining of elderly people are well received and found useful. People should have opportunities for self-fulfilment regardless of their actual age.

Corporate initiatives on professional development and promotion of acquiring new skills by elderly people help to accomplish both economic and social tasks. This opinion has been expressed by Olga Mayorova, the Acting Minister of Labour, Social Protection and Demography in the Penza Region. She believes that one of the major objectives of occupational guidance is to give the elderly people self-confidence, to reject traditional stereotypes according to which they have nothing but live their last years.

- Today’s realities clearly demonstrate that the skills of elderly people might be in demand in the labour market, which is of considerable value, says Olga Mayorova. People want to be useful, and they are ready to devote themselves to work. People aged 50 and over always place a higher priority on the stability than on self-actualisation in career. We would certainly welcome such socially oriented employers as Togliattiazot in the Penza Region.

For three years now, the employment service of the Samara Region has been offering professional development and additional training to pensioners.

The more projects of similar focus, the more opportunities ‘the silver generation’ will have both in career growth and active ageing.

Competent opinion

Pyotr Ordzhonikidze, the Chairman of the Board of PJSC Togliattiazot:

- While developing our educational initiative on the elderly, we proceeded from the fact that each turning point is a trying ordeal for everyone regardless of whether the person worked as a director or an ordinary employee. People should have various opportunities in different areas. One of such areas is offered by Togliattiazot, that is to obtain a new profession. We offer retraining opportunities not only to TOAZ employees, but also to any resident of the Samara Region. One shall file an application and substantiate his/her reasons in order to participate in this project. This will serve as a pass to the world of knowledge, which, we hope, will not only cushion the effect of future changes associated with the proposed pension reform, but will also enable elderly people to learn new facets of life.

Aleksey Buzinny, Deputy Head of Togliatti city district:

- I believe that the date of birth in the passport is not important, but his/her attitude towards life and the environment is of particular importance. If a person feels the need to obtain new expertise, knowledge and skills necessary for the realisation of his/her interests and hobbies, then the initiative offered by Togliattiazot will be useful for him/her.

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