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Meeting with Mentor forum participants

February 14, 2018, Novo-Ogaryovo, Moscow Region

The President met with participants of the Mentor national forum held in Moscow on February 13–15.

The forum brought together several thousand people involved in mentoring, including active mentors at businesses, representatives of HR departments of major public and private corporations, federal and regional authorities, employees of non-profit organisations and educational institutions, and is designed to promote a professional mentoring environment.

* * *

President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon,

First, I would like to welcome all the participants, and congratulate the winners.

As you are no doubt aware, it is impossible to achieve any success if you do not love your work. At most, it would be middling. However, love for what you do implies a desire to share your knowledge with those worthy people who can lead a particular profession into the future. How can people love their work and not at least try to raise other capable people to their level, or create some kind of a foundation, a platform for those people to help them take a step into the future of their profession.

I am sure that absolutely all professionals dream of knowing that the cause to which they devoted their entire lives – as a rule, mentors are that kind of people – will be in good hands. I think this is what mentoring is all about.

The mentoring movement did not appear yesterday. Intelligent people supported and formulated it at some point. There is a saying that anything new is well-forgotten old. Not always, of course, a lot of absolutely new things have appeared, and this matter is also important from a moral and ethical standpoint. Supporting young people – and we are talking about young specialists – and helping them form the right approach to their trade, profession, and the country is, in the final count, the foundation for success.

Incidentally, the future will largely depend – and many are already talking about it – on the ability of people to work as a team. I believe our country in this sense has a certain advantage because our people, or peoples, have a significant collectivist streak. If other countries assign more value to personal success, which is also very important, our people have a strong element of collectivism in their heart, in their soul. Today this is a competitive advantage. Mentoring is something that helps create a team, a small professional group. So let me congratulate you once more and wish you success.

Watching this event unfold, I must say it delighted my heart. It was a pleasure to watch it because there are so many people enthusiastic about what they are doing, people with a deep soul and an open heart. It cannot help but make you smile. They are our great asset, and one that will definitely continue to develop.

On a related note, I have an idea for launching another project for very young people, older schoolchildren, between grades 6 and 10. We could call it something like “Ticket to the Future.” This work can be divided into three stages. At stage one, the children could identify a future career they are suited for at home online, at the local level. Then they could take part in work at various competence centres, you probably heard about them. There is the Sirius educational centre in Sochi. And then they could get a special grant to acquire practical professional experience at large institutions or our major companies. We have calculated that this would cost about 1 billion rubles a year, and we can find this money. I would like the Government to prepare a corresponding resolution. It will be done shortly.

And what do you think of this event?

Commander of Aeroflot’s flight training detachment Nikolai Izosimov: To begin with, we would like to thank you for your hospitality, for this reception. On behalf of all participants in the forum we would like to express our delight over this event. On the whole, people understood that the Government and the leadership of the country are not standing somewhere off to the side of this movement. This is the niche that can be deepened and developed further, because as you rightly noted mentorship takes decades.

I have been involved in it since 1971. We had it in the Soviet Union. You may remember the Merited Youth Mentor title. Now this movement is being revived and this niche is being filled. And I see in different places (I even look at young guys, they are much younger than me) that indeed every occupation has its own direction and it is possible to pass on experience.

On the way here, my mentor, my teacher owing to whom I got involved with aviation (he is 83 years old, a distinguished man, rector of the Ulyanovsk Aviation Academy) saw me on the screen and called me up and said: ”Kolya, I wanted to offer my congratulations.” He remembers all that he invested in me. I told him I have already trained several pilots. This is a very promising movement. We must pass on to the younger generation what we inherited from the Soviet Union.

The other participants asked me to say that it is necessary to restore the title of Merited Mentor of Russia. I have been wearing with pride the award conferred on me by President Vladimir Putin’s Executive Order in 2005, for 13 years now. This award is Merited Pilot. Now I would like to seek the Merited Mentor title.

Vladimir Putin: This is a good idea. We will think it over, consult you on the name but in general, it would be appropriate. It is necessary to have an element of public recognition of this work, that is clear.

Nikolai Izosimov: This is multidimensional, systematic work. Aeroflot already has the institution of mentors and not only for pilots but for all aviation personnel. The young people coming to us are gifted and simply talented. It is easy to work with them. They soak up everything. And now those whom I taught are already sharing their experience with their younger colleagues. This creates continuity.

Vladimir Putin: These guys will also pass on their experience. They are still young but they have good prospects.

Nikolai Izosimov: They already have something to share.

Vladimir Putin: Did you like the atmosphere?

Alexander Duimamet, welding engineer at a branch of JSC AEM-technology ATOMMASH: You know what I liked, Mr President? There was such an atmosphere there, so many people… Dmitry and I are concerned with our jobs, but when you approach a group of people with other competencies… You listen, but do not make much of what they are saying. However, they are mentors who have a lot of experience under the belt. I listened to an admiral, he is decorated with many orders, and he runs a Seaman Apprentice school in Nizhny Novgorod. He works with the youth, and they call him papa. It was interesting to listen to him and learn how people pass on their knowledge and experience. We are also trying to do our best in our trade, which we learned and mastered at some point.

The forum is enormous in scale. Dmitry and I participate in the national championship, the scale is not the same, of course. So, each one shares his bit. I liked it very much. I took part in championships, but they are organised a little bit differently. Here, everything is good.

Vladimir Putin: I would also like to congratulate your father. Give him my best regards. The atmosphere in the family matters, since very much depends on the parents. I think a lot depends on the father when it comes to boys. Not only is he a professional in his field, but he is also a citizen in the highest sense of the word. So, convey my best wishes to him.

Alexander Duimamet: I have another son, who is seven now. He was six when he tried welding for the first time. He keeps asking me to teach him, and I always say that I will, but a little later.

I think that the skills should not only be passed on in the family, but also shared with other welders, not just the youth. We can see that manufacturing workers are narrow specialists, and we try to train them in things that they cannot do. We can do things even though we are young, but we have a lot of experience, and people go for it. We strive to achieve versatility in our profession, it is a great thing.

Vladimir Putin: You know, I believe I mentioned this during our video conference: on the face of it, a welder is not such a big thing. However, up until recently, Gazprom was unable to find enough highly skilled specialists for its major power infrastructure facilities. This is a real problem facing major infrastructure facilities.

Dmitry Kucheryavin, manual arc welding technician at a branch of JSC AEM-technology ATOMMASH: Indeed, this is true. Speaking about the Soviet times, indeed, the approach was correct. A person would join a plant and be assigned to a senior colleague who would show them the ropes. Based on my experience – I started as a worker, a welder – I ran into such a problem and it took me quite a while to learn the skills needed to become a skilled specialist and to achieve some kind of recognition. I had to ask many questions and watch how others were doing it.

This idea – the things we are now trying to revive – is close to me. We can share our experience with young workers right on the job, so that they do not get discouraged on account of not being able to do their job properly, because there is no one there to show them how to do it properly.

As for the forum, I was just surprised to see that many people. I was happy to be there. Indeed, there were lots of them. The very idea of mentoring attracted a fairly large crowd over the two days. The event itself was uplifting.

Vladimir Putin: In this regard, I think it is important to work on early career guidance. I mentioned the schoolchildren in grades 6 to 10. We need to think about how we are going to resolve the issue of early career guidance, because interest in a particular type of activity develops at this age. I think we will do it on a broad basis. We will do so across the country for about 100,000 schoolchildren first and see how it goes. Of course, we will get WorldSkills-Russia on board, which, I am sure, you are familiar with. They are good operators, and they will act as such. I think it will be interesting and useful.

I am very pleased to know that you liked the atmosphere at the event in which you participated.

Nikolay Izosimov: The atmosphere was simply splendid. There was a formal part followed by a concert and an award ceremony.

Dmitry Kucheryavin: The performance was great, and throughout the ceremony, we were kept aware of what brought us here and the idea that unites us. I really liked it.

Vladimir Putin: This is precisely the effect we sought to achieve and, above all, we wanted to zero in on the importance of mentoring in our country. If that is what you think about it then, apparently, we succeeded. I am very pleased to hear that. Thank you.

Dmitry Kucheryavin: Thank you.


February 14, 2018, Novo-Ogaryovo, Moscow Region