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Cooperation Between Business and Universities is One of the Key Requirements for the Implementation of Innovations and National Economy Development

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23.02.2017 13:21


Nariman Mukushev, Managing Director for Innovations and IT in Kazpost JSC, told about the plans on the development of cooperation with local universities. He and a representative of Samruk-Kazyna Business Service LLP met last week with the students and professors of Suleyman Demirel University, Kazakh British Technical University and International Information Technology University.

— Nariman Nurlanovich, could you please tell how did you come up with the idea of cooperation with universities?

— Back in 2013, we signed our first memorandum of understanding and cooperation with the voluntary association of PDP Nur Otan, Zhas Otan. Key areas for cooperation include youth policy and common efforts to arrange internships for recent graduates for 2 - 3 months. In the future, we are determined to establish similar cooperation directly with universities. We are interested in developing IT competencies on the market, so that students know what to expect in the production, company, or on the market. 

Even today, we can see the opportunities to attract talented students to implementation of current company’s projects. It could be, for example, development of the website in terms of SEO optimisation, SMM or development of services for the corporate system. Normally, there are some enthusiasts among juniors and seniors, who are interested in development and are ready to devote their time to working on unique tasks.

For example, there is a 3D printing laboratory at Suleyman Demirel University located in Almaty. We would be interested to have such printers in other towns, so that our clients are able to immediately print the product when ordering souvenirs from Postmarket.kz. Speaking of KBTU, a tech university where situation centres are created, we could offer an applied way of using them by jointly responding to the challenges and launching new projects. International Information Technology Universityplaces emphasis on the robotics engineering, which has a lot of potential for us. We could work on creating drones that will deliver packages to the remote areas of the country. Another area of improvement is e-learning, for us it is pointless to implement new services when the information is not delivered to the remote areas. Thus, we would be happy to work in this area as well.

Of course, we do not want to limit youth with the completion of our tasks, because they might also have their own ideas and offers. Students have fresh vision and original viewpoints that are unburdened by our specificity. In contrast, we sometimes cannot see obvious things that have potential for improvement.

We are ready to work with different universities. There is an idea to create an inter-university hub, where students could create. We, in turn, are ready to hire those, who will show a great result.

— Did you manage to reach agreements with universities?

— We discussed potential areas of cooperation and agreed on certain steps. It is not our last meeting, so it is necessary to understand what directions are interesting for the students and what they are willing to work on. We, in turn, of course, will tell where we are moving and what specifically can we offer them. Also, it is necessary to identify format of the work, so that it would be possible to directly cooperate with universities on the regular basis. We have already agreed upon the conclusion of the memorandums with universities and are hoping for the future fruitful cooperation with them.

On February 13th, 2017, Advisory Council on the Questions of Improving Digital Technologies in Samruk-Kazyna Group of Companies was created. We are determined to invite representatives from the universities, including talented students recommended by the universities themselves, to participate in working groups on IT and education development in Kazakhstan.

— Are you considering cooperation only within your company or you are planning to include other Fund companies in the project?

— In my mind, it should be nothing less than a programme for the Fund gПoup. The reason is that it is beneficial for everybody. Students are being hired, universities are getting famous because of the talented graduates, and companies are getting good human resources. Moreover, as our President told in his recent address to the people of Kazakhstan, nowadays, it is crucial to develop IT competencies in our country. For example, there is a good initiative, Open IT project. Companies, such as Chocolife, Aviata have been united and organised training courses to develop the skills of their potential employees. Currently, we are negotiating cooperation with them. We understand that if our person will train 20 people, some of them might choose to work in Chocolife or other companies and in the end nobody will stay with Kazpost. However, since there is only one market and all of us are working towards one common goal, we are not scared of it.  

— Do you believe that other national companies are interested in joining efforts with business for the development of IT professionals?

— Yes, but it is a rocky path for the national companies. The reason behind it is the fact that Chocolife is a very flexible company. In contrast, processes in national companies are organised a bit more complex. Therefore, it is necessary to understand how to make everything happen within the context of personnel development.

I am familiar with CIO of national companies. Many of them are all-round and creative people who are willing to better the situation with IT professionals in our country. I am certain that several companies are going to support us in this endeavor. The rest is going to depend on how far the company will drive forward this idea, because it is necessary to fight for any idea. The situation in Kazpost is not that simple as well. We had to conduct many preliminary negotiations and discussions, persuade some people and even not to listen to others. In the future, I think that it is going to be the same. This is life.

All that matters is for the idea to get accustomed. The experience has shown that in this kind of initiatives, good ideas are going down in the process, because after all any idea is the process that has many obstacles, especially if it is linked to funding.

As of right now, all initiatives come from different individuals in the chaotic manner. For example, I know that CEO of Samruk-Kazyna Business Service, David Tuganov, is attracting many students as interns and some of them found their places in the company. In KTZ, they are probably doing something similar. Tomorrow, we might not be here. There is always a possibility that a person of a new age will take the place and will not remain seized of this matter. Our goal is to establish a process in such a way that will work not depending on anyone. And I believe we will succeed.

— Thank you for an interesting conversation!
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