Thanks mainly to considerable encouragement from, and efforts by, the SIJ Group companies in Ravne, the Ravne Secondary School has reinstated a modern Metallurgy Technician program after an absence of over two decades. 17 students – 15 male and 2 female – have enrolled in Year 1. They have all received grants from SIJ Group companies – 15 from Metal Ravne and 2 from SIJ Ravne Systems. After the students complete their education, the companies guarantee to offer them a job, while the best participants will have the opportunity to receive a second grant, and continue their studies at university level.
After the recipients signed the grant agreements, they attended a reception in SIJ Training Center in Ravne. Andrej Gradišnik, the Managing Director of SIJ Metal Ravne, introduced them to the SIJ Group, and gave each student the PPE (protective clothing and footwear) that they will need for practical training.
"As far as our companies are concerned, the most severe shortage of staff is in the field of metallurgy. Metallurgists are in very short supply. The last metallurgists we recruited are now all close to 50 years old. They hold crucial posts in production and management alike," said Gradišnik. That is why the SIJ Group companies have gone to such lengths to establish a modern Metallurgy Technician program, even offering grants. The grants give students extra motivation, but attaining expert knowledge is key. "We work closely with the school. Three of our experts joined the school as lecturers this year, and later on, students will come to our companies for practical training."
Besides getting an education and a grant, the main motivation for students enrolling in the Metallurgy Technician program was the thought of the employment that awaits them in the SIJ Group companies after they finish school. Some are also considering enrolling in university to continue their studies. They all see metallurgy as a challenging career with a bright future: "I think there are great opportunities for girls to build a career in metallurgy," said Urška Breznik, one of the two female students in the class.
Ivanka Stopar, the Ravne Secondary School principal, is just as pleased with the partnership between business and education: "I am certain that the Metallurgy Department will be filled with students in future. The students who enrolled this year all did well in elementary school, some even getting very good and excellent grades. They have chosen a technical profession because they have an aptitude for it." The principal promised that the school will teach the students to be responsible and independent, and to love their work.