Programs to attract and train future energy specialists

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2020 was a challenging year in all industries, including within the human resources segment, says Nicoleta Mihăiță, Talent Acquisition & Employer Branding Manager, Rompetrol – KMG International. In an ONLINE conference organized by Energynomics, she talked about the mitigating the risk of losing valuable knowledge in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Rwo of Rompetrol’s main assets are Petromidia refinery, over 40 years old, and Vega refinery, in operation for over 115 years. “Every year we have colleagues who reach retirement age, who have a lot of knowledge and once they retire, they take that knowledge with them. We have many jobs requiring specialization – in some cases for periods of up to 5 years. The refinery is constantly going through many investment, modernization, digitization projects, which require new skills. In the given context, the risk of losing valuable knowledge is very high. Therefore, our knowledge transfer, cross training and succession planning programs support the retention of knowledge internally, as well as the development of new skills. The internship program, with a tradition of 20 years, as well as the other programs that develop the software and technical skills of future specialists are a permanent source of fresh energies”, she says.

Unfortunately, Romania is among the top countries in the world in respect to emigration, and the candidate pool is shrinking, at the same time as labor migration trend increases. “Also, the curriculum of secondary schools and universities is not always aligned with the needs of companies, who have to become increasingly involved in training for reducing the skills mismatch. We we are proud of the fact that we have succeeded in time develop and strengthen our partnerships with universities and the high schools we are working with.”

“Our conclusion was that it was not enough to attract new people through promotional actions, but it was also important to get involved by developing the candidate pool, the skills of students and students, so that we can then continuously renew our human work force. We have many types of actions that we try in order to reach the minds and souls of students at all times. We have company presentations, which we conduct every year, we try to be present at as many career events as possible, we organize all sorts of workshops on personal and professional development in universities and high schools, technical visits, mentoring, internship and more.”

During the pandemic, only part of these activities could take place and we saw how students in the final year were concerned about the difficulty of getting a job at the end of their studies. People’s morale generally deteriorated. “We have taken a step back and looked for ways to adapt. One of the topics of our workshops in the years before was exactly on “The skills of the future”, where adaptability was among the main skills identified. So 2020 was our opportunity to prove that we are not only talking about adaptability, but also applying it to be able to stay connected and close to our student communities. In February 2020, we had launched a new in-person workshop, but everything seemed outdated, so we changed everything into attractive and interactive online structures. We have adapted all our communication,” explains Nicoleta Mihăiță.

As an example, before the pandemic, various events were organized, including annual technical visits to the company. Then, there are the mentors who get involved in compulsory practice of pupils and students, during the company’s annual internship. The technical internship program continued, even if it had to be moved online. “Being online brought us a great challenge – we have a lot of mentors, all with technical education, but not all of them familiarized with the digital area, with using their laptop for video communication. We asked them to be present on all sorts of video platforms, so we had to train mentors first, for the online world. And they have adapted so well that we have had situations where some of them have become vloggers from the technical stations.”

Rompetrol has developed new online training programs which very well received by high-school students, including ‘The first steps towards a refinery job’.

The adaptation for online has come with some advantages. “While our in-person events allowed us to reach a limited number of students, online we have all the doors opened to a larger number of students from all over the country,  ans so we were able to get involved in training more people”, added Nicoleta Mihăiță.

The conference “Human Resources – 360° Approach” was organized by Energynomics in order to encourage the exchange of ideas between human resources specialists in the energy industry. We also presented the Energynomics Learning Center initiative aimed at providing all stakeholders with information about the training and specialization courses available to them. Over 120 people have registered on the MyConnector platform to participate in the dialogue. The recording is available HERE.

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Bogdan Tudorache

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