Today, the ambitious project on the training of young instructors, implemented for the second year in Rosatom Technical Academy has brought its first results. After completing the training and successfully passing the exams, seven graduates received the qualification of a first category specialist for NPP personnel training and started teaching.
“For the timely and successful training of personnel for the realization of Rosatom Corporation projects on NPP construction abroad, the Technical Academy has set the task to train English-speaking instructors from among graduates of technical universities from all over the country. The first students began to master the curriculum in 2018. The training is carried out in twelve specializations: from the shift supervisor of the radiation safety department to the unit shift supervisor,” explained Evgeny Polev, Director of the International Training Center for NPP Personnel.
Today, about seventy graduates of the basic universities of Rosatom from all over Russia are studying in the Obninsk Headquarters of the Technical Academy, as well as in its Novovoronezh and St. Petersburg branches. This year the same number of graduates is to be recruited. The requirements for candidates at the stage of entrance control are quite high: an intermediate level of English and the average score in technical disciplines – 4.3.
Ian Solomein, a graduate of the Ural Federal University, before studying at Rosatom Technical Academy worked as a reactor operator at the Beloyarsk NPP for two years. Today Ian along with the other young employees of the center, gives lectures on the basic training course for specialists of Rooppur NPP and participates in the development of training materials for Turkish specialists.
“It is important for a lecturer to make contact with the audience. You do not just turn on the presentation and read – we learn to interact with trainees, to engage them in the learning process. Better understanding between trainees and teachers is facilitated by direct communication, with no need for translation. Therefore, we are interested in being fluent in English,” says Ian Solomein.
The English language training for instructors at the Technical Academy is a continuous and intensive process. It includes the courses on general communication and technical English, making and subsequent delivering presentations and frequent public speeches. According to the head of the department of linguistic support of projects, the organizer of teaching English, Elena Kazakova, “the successful start of the training activity of graduates was made possible thanks to a specially designed English language programme for instructors training at the Academy. What is more, the Technical Academy created favorable conditions for the gradual application of the acquired skills in the current project on NPP personnel training. The personal aspiration of the trainees is also very important, as well as their dedication and hard work in mastering the language.”
For Elena Skoropad, a specialist in NPP personnel training, studying English is not only developing a necessary professional skill during the training but also a hobby thanks to which she attended an English training course in England. Before coming to Obninsk from her hometown Balakovo, Elena graduated from MEPhI with a degree in Radiation Safety of Nuclear Power Plants and then worked at the Tsyba Medical Research Center as an engineer in the Department of Clinical Dosimetry and Topometry.
“Apart from the knowledge of technical aspects and English speaking skills, it’s essential for the future instructor to master pedagogical techniques. At first, I felt a little pinched. A special training on instructor skills helped me to feel more confident, – Elena Skoropad says. – Moreover, during this training, we learned to build a clear structure of the lesson: from learning objectives to results. To ensure trainees understand the topic, it is important to consistently state the material, correctly place emphasis, stop to clarify emerging questions. The instructor also needs to give examples from our experience of operating an NPP. For this, we did two internships with a total duration of six months at the Novovoronezh NPP. It was very helpful to us. But I would like to see a lot more.”
The integration of the Technical Academy as a training center and the Rosenergoatom as an operating organization, as well as the participation of young specialists in industry seminars and IAEA activities, helps to comprehensively solve the problem of instructors training. Experienced mentors are assigned to the young staff, gradually involving young people in training activity.
“We have been involved in lecturing since the very beginning of our training. The teachers of the Technical Academy have always supported us. The more you read, the more confident you feel. Now the most important thing is to gain experience,” the instructor Vladimir Shilov says.
Today, the work of young lecturers is already assessed by the trainees themselves – specialists of the NPP under construction in Bangladesh, who are being trained at the Rostom Technical Academy. Based on feedback received, training organizers can determine the level of English language proficiency, lecturing skills, accuracy in answering questions, and even the behavior of instructors. At the start of teaching, the trainee’s survey results are quite high: the average rating of young trainers of the International Center for the NPP Personnel Training by the above indicators is 100 points.
“In the Technical Academy an environment for cooperation, communication and the development of basic instrumental competencies has been created in accordance with the best international practices,” Leonid Kumkov, director of the Instructors Training Center says. – This allows identifying the difficulties that an international instructor faces in his work right away, and choose ways to overcome them. But we should remember that training is a mutual process, as a result of which trainees should achieve the goal set by the teacher. Each teacher или instructor has individual methods and means of reaching the desired level of understanding the material by the audience. And individuality is acquired over time.”