Vladyslav Lesko, associate professor of electric power stations and systems departments of Vinnytsia National Technical University: Due to the fact that there was a problem in the personnel in the field of energy and training specialists in Ukraine, the Department of power stations and systems together with the specialists of KNESS Group decided to create an elective, which would provide students with more information on the vocational guidance items that the industry needs. This program is accompanied by financial reward. Students who succeed in exams and tests, according to the rating, can receive a scholarship in the amount of up to 3 thousand UAH. 20 such scholarships were appointed.
In general, enterprises have always supported institutions of education since any increase in GDP of the country was due to the fact that profile ministries, profile organizations have always supported their profile universities and the field of knowledge in this area. Nowadays all this merged to the background. However, we come back to this again. We do not have to prepare a wide range of specialists, but having actual employers' needs, their requirements, and thus we can train future specialists in order to obtain a higher level of knowledge in one or another specialty. KNESS has chosen such way to follow.
As the company deals with renewable energy, the curriculum focuses on selected disciplines related to renewable energy and distribution networks. These plans were agreed with the management of the company, teachers who are specialists in this field conduct additional classes with students. By the way, students have a choice. That is, only those who are interested in go to the classroom. Those who attend and pass exams well, get a scholarship – financial reward. It requires a certain level of knowledge, it is necessary to pay attention and time to the education. Students should have a certain level of interest.
What would be the point? Firstly, we train more high-quality specialists; secondly, we have feedback with production, and thirdly, KNESS supports and stimulates the provision of the department with new equipment, in particular, the solar station, put in service in 2017.
KNESS indeed is one of the best employers in the Podillia region. Firstly, the company provides our students with salaried placement, secondly, it employs them, providing with a social package.
The fact is that before, when I was studying, we had an academic load – 30-35 hours per week. Now the ministry has cropped up to 20 hours a week. Students just miss the material. A lot of material is given to self-tuition. Most students after a couple of classes get tired and do not want to study this anymore, so the elective gives you the opportunity not only to follow their way, but also to communicate with a teacher, to disassemble practical questions and real cases and tasks. There are a lot of lab lessons. If before the laboratory took an hour and a half, now we are not limited in time. We discuss issues that appear during the process of studying; we examine and solve problematic cases in detail.
Elective course is usually visited by about 40% of the group's students. It means if there are 20 people in a group, 8-9 of them attend the elective course. This average indicator shows these 8-9 people really see themselves in the industry and want to continue working there.
In the beginning of the program, from March to May 2018, the classes were held by KNESS employees. It took them a lot of time, however. Indeed, a lot of time and efforts go to training, get them away from work. But we were present at classes, saw plans, requirements, also drew valuable insights, because they have more life experience. And so, after talking to the management of the company, we decided to attract the teaching staff of the university. We have agreed classes with KNESS Group.
Electives are available to all students starting from the sophomore year. One group of students who have been attending electives for a year – has just graduated. Most of them already work at KNESS.
All students understand that if they want to have a decent salary and career growth, then they need knowledge. Moreover, no one will pay for nothing, and every organization, every structure wants to have a conscious specialist who can take up work, and not to spend half a year to prepare. Students understand this and understand that in future their level of salary will reflect it. Those who came here consciously really learn and try.
Together with the KNESS Group we installed a 1.6 kW educational solar power plant on the roof of the institute. Students can clearly see how these or other factors affect electricity generation and how it can be controlled, how energy can be saved. And students can use this knowledge and skills in their future work.
We also cooperate with the KNESS RnD Center and develop a system that will predict the generation level of electricity for the day ahead. According to the new law on the electricity market, it is necessary to predict the generation hourly. With solar power plants such problem exists, it is hard to guess precisely how much electricity it will produce. We cope with this task. We have some good results already. To conduct these studies, we needed a PVPP, which we would be able to use 24/7. This is another reason for installing PVPP on the roof of the institute.