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ECO-Culture holding launches an employee training program

A specialized Russian magazine Agroinvestor has published an article devoted to personnel problems in the agro-industrial sphere. The piece tells about a unique training project launched recently by ECO-Culture holding. The purpose of such in-company conferences for employees is their professional development, as well as the unification and standardization of methods of greenhouse vegetable production. Maintaining unified standards of quality and production is a vital practice for the company, whose branches are located in the Stavropol Krai along with Lipetsk, Tula, and Leningrad Oblasts.

The article points out the shortage of qualified personnel as a serious problem of the modern agro-industrial sector in Russia. Even if a particular enterprise does not have an acute staff deficit, the level of their professional training, even in identical positions, may be different. This situation slows down the general development of business, as well as impedes the process of innovations implementation in practice. The issue of knowledge actualization is particularly pressing in large agricultural holdings. Here, standardization of management processes and the introduction of the latest technologies into production play a crucial role. For this reason, the training of future specialists and professional development of those already working become urgent tasks. The successful solution to these problems directly affects the competitiveness and prospects of the enterprise.

With interaction between facilities located in different regions of the country being challenging in the era of pandemics and restrictions, companies are mastering new formats of communication. ECO-Culture holding, for instance, being Russia’s largest producer of greenhouse vegetables, has initiated a project unique in its scale, which is in-company training conferences for all the employees of the country’s leading agribusiness.

According to Yulia Shkamratova, the Deputy Director for HR Management, the purpose of the conferences is to create unified standards for each agronomist in each greenhouse complex. It is essential that specialists have a uniform set of competencies corresponding to modern agronomic requirements.

During the first online conference, participants had a chance to take a closer look at five topics related to agronomic technologies, crop protection methods, irrigation strategies, and tomato nutrition. The next events will be held in a mixed format with online meetings be co combined with on-site sessions at production facilities. There are about 20 themes scheduled so far: each specialist of the holding will be able to share experience and knowledge with his colleagues. In the future, the company is planning to invite outside lecturers – recognized experts in the agricultural industry. The proceedings of each conference will be included in the training programs for new employees of the agricultural holding.

As noted by Alexander Rudakov, the President of ECO-Culture, indoor agronomy today is going through a period of rapid development. With new cultivation technologies, biological plant protection means, hybrids and varieties appearing, each of these novelties have a huge potential for business development and the greenhouse industry as a whole. Specialists of the country’s leading greenhouse enterprise need to be aware of all innovations and changes in this area.

Lyudmila Prytkova, the Chief Agronomist of the holding, stressed that there is no need for the specialists to be retrained. Nevertheless, learning and researching new aspects of greenhouse agronomy is a continuous process. The in-company agronomy conferences are expected to cope with this task perfectly.

These, however, are not the only training events held by the holding. Just recently, ECO-cultures’ greenhouse complexes became a training ground for large-scale all-Russian projects “Farmer’s School” and “World Agrarian Markets”. The students of specialized universities regularly undergo practical training at the production facilities. Besides, the company plans to open its own educational centers in the near future. Lyubov Prytkova believes that the scientific basis that students receive at lectures should not be “disconnected from the ground”. When it comes to universities, it is difficult to clearly illustrate the operation of modern greenhouses equipped with centralized computer control. All the processes of plant cultivation – lighting, irrigation, nutrition, ventilation, etc. – are controlled by sophisticated software. On-the-job training, on the other hand, will allow students to learn the new generation of technology in practice.

Generally, the profession of agronomist against the background of the industry’s development has clearly become significantly more popular in the past few years. Still, some time will be needed before today’s first-year students become graduates. ECO-culture, for its part, stimulates new trends in education through its own methods – it invites students to educational and field practice in the greenhouses of the agricultural holding and seeks to create the most attractive working conditions for young professionals.

For the full text of the article please visit Agroinvestor magazine’s website.