The Russian Railways (RZD) held their 5th Annual Youth Meeting between 9 and 14 September 2011 in Moscow – Russian Federation.
Over 800 people – the representatives of young talented employees of RZD from the whole country from Vladivostok to Kaliningrad, managers of JSC Russian Railways, government authorities and social organisations attended this event. The programme of this meeting included many activities such as a contest of innovative youth projects, technical visits, brainstorming, team building, special training and educational programme, business readings etc.
As part of the contest of innovative projects, the best innovative projects presented by young railwaymen to the top managers of Russian Railways, including the president Mr. Vladimir Yakunin, received good marks from the company’s managers. The winners of the contest received prizes from the president of RZD. Many projects were supported by managers and will be realised in the near future as part of pilot projects led by Russian Railways. While Mr. Yakunin noticed the technical variety and creativity of the projects which competed, he highlighted the importance of the social projects in the proposals which he interpreted as a very positive indicator with regard to the commitment of RZD staff for a better quality of service at all levels within JSC Russian Railways.
During this event the first international session was held, in which delegations from European and Asian railways took part. These delegates met Mr. Vladimir Yakunin during a round table, where both sides discussed and exchanged their views on the future of the railway world. The international session was also an opportunity to get to know each other better thanks to the presentations given by the foreign delegation, and answers given to the attendees by the speakers. The main form of work was business readings, where the following themes were discussed: “The strategy of development of railway companies: “New projects and programs”, “The role of youth in effective integration of world railway systems”, “International youth cooperation: ideas and projects, which can unite us”.
Current practice in the domain of international technical cooperation was presented by UIC representatives. This was an opportunity to identify the issues arising from the collaboration between teams of technical and non-technical specialists from various origins and backgrounds.
Taking into consideration the current demographic, economic and social trends, the International Union of Railways raised the question that it is necessary to be more active in our work with young railwaymen. This approach emphasised in particular the need to envisage the railway youth as a medium to mitigate the risks faced nowadays by the railway sector, which is under competitive challenge from other modes of transport and job sectors. Its proposal aimed to give a growing number of young railway employees a flavour of team working within an intercultural context, and above all, maintaining contact between the members of this new community. The overall result should be the creation of an international network of young railway people already acquainted with the principles of international cooperation. Since this young community will bring together railway people with high potential who are expected to reach top management positions in their native networks in the coming ten to fifteen years, it is clear that today’s investment into the development of youth potential is an investment in the future. Railway companies should create a common platform for the development of international collaboration among young railway people.
The goals of such a platform could be:
- Creating the network platform for the promotion of the values and principles of international collaboration among railway people around the world
- Stimulating active dialogue between cultures and generations based on the principles of openness, respect and equality
- Facilitating the process of knowledge, values and experience exchange between generations of railway people
- Preservation of national and cultural identities together with the recognition of common values
- Understanding the global challenges faced by youth
- Inviting the young people to promote the values of railway transport within their generation
- Identifying young individuals able to contribute to the resolution of these issues without excluding original profiles: for instance, young graduates and doctors aware of state-of-the art tools & techniques (railway experience not mandatory = fresh brains) shall be given the floor. In other words it could be used as a mechanism for recruiting new railway staff who are active and have ideas and for improving loyalty to railway transport among employees
- Initially within punctual meetings abroad in parallel with English courses during their day-to-day work to gain confidence in foreign language practice; the meetings could be organised in the participating countries
- Facilitating changes which will support the convergence of the railway society in future, in the minds of people acting at international level
- Establishing contacts and promoting cooperation among UIC members and other partner organisations
This event could perhaps be one of the facilitating factors in the development of such a platform within the railway community.