The first thing that the Orenburg Region Development Corporation did was make an inventory of the local investment opportunities. We studied each municipality in our region to figure out what can be of interest to an investor. The list included land, production facilities, and other sites connected to utilities. All investment destinations are listed on our portal, orenburinvestin.ru.
Next, we prepared an application for creating a Special Economic Zone in the Orenburg Region. The new area with enhanced business opportunities, embracing the cities of Orenburg and Orsk, will provide over 2,000 new jobs.
That prospect confronted us with another problem, which was personnel. The first thing investors asked was if the region could supply specialists with the necessary competencies to work at their new enterprises.
That was why the Orenburg Region Development Corporation teamed up with the Orenburg State University to create the Institute for the Development of the Economy and Competencies. The idea was to build a bridge between the employer and the university. Graduates awarded their degrees should be as prepared as possible to work at modern enterprises.
We will continue to create new meanings, methodically and consciously — the new vectors for the university’s development. We will make sure that a graduate taking their first job no longer hears, “forget everything you were taught at the university.” We will build a new educational model to fit the frameworks, challenges and changes of the new age.
Our plans for this year
A ‘Board of Directors’ will be established at each department, with seats given to the most dedicated and professional representatives of business, academia and government agencies. Their mission will be:
• To set goals for the training of the necessary specialists,
• To approve KPIs for each department at the university,
• To provide scholarships, internships and grants for students.
What else are we planning to do this year? We will engage major national and regional businesses to establish ‘partner’ departments covering the areas of training that are in demand on the market in and outside the region. We will also draft a new development strategy for the Orenburg State University taking into account the modern reality and the new — post-COVID — economy.
Universities’ role evolves globally
The world in which traditional universities were created has changed dramatically. We all have access to the expertise of leading academics, world champions and the most successful entrepreneurs — just open YouTube or Coursera. The internet definitely knows far more than any lecturer ever will.
Teachers now have to compete for students’ attention not with their colleagues from other universities but with the best speakers and masterminds from all over the world. This places completely different demands both on the quality of teaching and on the role of universities in general. We are past the times when universities were just a place where students only get information and develop skills.
In the economy of knowledge, a university is a magnet for best employers, researchers, entrepreneurs and talents as well as many other unique people. This is how new knowledge is created. A university must become an ecosystem and platform where students are free to create, decide and make mistakes. It must be a place for:
- bustling research
- new concepts
- idea discussions
- creating the future and the present based on the realities of business and industries.
Success comes with tenacity. We’re up to the task. We are committed to developing the region and education.
By Ignat Petukhov, General Director, Orenburg Region Development Corporation