Being a metallurgist is a difficult and skilled job, and therefore is a rare profession. Specialists for the metallurgical and mining industries are trained at only a few universities in Russia where the students have a unique opportunity to get acquainted with real production conditions at RUSAL facilities, as well as to put the results of their scientific and research developments into practice.
For many years, RUSAL has been closely cooperating with the Siberian Federal University (SFU), the Siberian State Industrial University (SibGIU), the Irkutsk National Research Technical University (IrNITU), the Ural State Mining University (UGGU), and the Ural Federal University (UrFU). At the same time, their joint work is not limited to training personnel for aluminium smelters, alumina refineries, and bauxite mines.
Today, RUSAL’s production facilities are applying many of the technological solutions developed with the participation of the students, postgraduates and professors of the base universities. For example, the joint work of Company process engineers and SFU scientists has resulted in the creation of a cost-efficient high-strength aluminium and magnesium alloy doped with scandium and zirconium. In the course of work on creating RA-550 technology, RUSAL's ETC engineers actively involved representatives of SFU and IrNITU. Another implemented project of the Irkutsk University involved technical solutions for the processing of pot lining. In addition, in cooperation with RUSAL's ETC, IrNITU researchers were able to extract several carbon and silicon-dioxide-based nanostructures from silicon production waste, which can be used to modify metal, concrete, asphalt, and paints.
RUSAL is implementing several educational projects through the universities. Each year, the universities create target student groups, who then receive educations in Company specialisations. Students who read the relevant studies are provided with internship and practice opportunities at RUSAL production facilities and have all their educational expenses paid. Since 2018, Company production facilities have implemented an internship programme for faculty members. The teachers engaged in design and engineering areas can also do an internship at REC and ETC. Moreover, employees of the Bratsk, Krasnoyarsk, and Sayanogorsk Aluminium Smelters, as well as the Achinsk Alumina Refinery are now able to get a higher education without discontinuing work: basic SFU departments have been set up directly at the industrial sites.
At the RUSAL Laboratories open at the universities, students have a chance to engage in scientific and research activities in fields such as reduction processes, material sciences, the creation of new alloys, the environment, resource conservation, etc. And for high school students wishing to pursue the metallurgist profession in the future, RUSAL has got engineering and technological classes in the base universities. In addition to in-depth study of specialised disciplines, students get practical skills in their future profession. After graduation from school, they will be provided with additional benefits for admission to the university.
Moreover, since 2011 RUSAL has been implementing a programme aimed at training specialists at Russian universities in the Company's foreign production facilities. Its participants are students and school graduates from Guinea, Guyana and Jamaica, who have shown excellent academic performance in their home countries passing a competitive selection. The Company covers the costs of their education and residence in Russia, including medical insurance, and pays a monthly scholarship. Foreign students learn various specialties – engineering, mining, metallurgy, transport, construction – at several universities. During their studies, not only do they get the necessary volume of theoretical knowledge, but they also practice at RUSAL production facilities and mines in the Ural and Siberian regions.