Ravne na Koroškem, Tuesday, 11 October 2016 – The SIJ Group Opens an Education and Training Center
Formally opened today, the SIJ Education and Training Center is a new milestone in promoting the progress and development of up to 7000 SIJ Group employees, who will be able to use the new facility to further their expertise and competencies in a variety of fields. At the same time, the center will provide a single education system that will enable our employees to develop their competencies while also constantly promoting the transfer of knowledge within and between the companies of the SIJ Group. The SIJ Education and Training Center will encourage collaboration with other education institutions and reward established partnerships such as the ones with the Ravne Secondary School and the B2B Education Center (MIC Ravne na Koroškem).
Today's formal opening of the new, modern SIJ Education and Training Center is a new milestone for the SIJ Group. Worth some EUR 215,000, the investment may not be the largest, but to the SIJ Group it is priceless. "Today, more than ever, it is important to recognize our employees’ potential, and focus on constantly promoting and enhancing it. It will take qualified, educated and motivated employees to help us realize the common strategy and strategic objectives of the SIJ Group, to respond with confidence to the current challenges in the steel industry, and to continue the trend of growth. This investment in an education center will thus enhance and enrich each of our previous investments," said the President of the SIJ Group Board of Directors, Anton Chernykh. The funds spent by the SIJ Group on education build from year to year – in the first half of 2016, there was a 45.8% increase on the same period last year.
SIJ Group employees will be able to enhance their skills and acquire knowledge in a variety of fields at the new education center. The facility will also be used to hold internal training and re-qualification programs for employees. "We still need a lot of well-educated metallurgy, mechanical engineering, electrical and other technicians who are qualified to meet the needs of the economy. This year alone we have already employed 80 people in various technical fields. We could employ as many as 20 additional technicians today, and another 30 by the end of the year, but it is difficult to find suitable candidates on the labor market," explained the SIJ Group HR Manager, Mojca Veble. When it comes to highly demanding and specific posts, the SIJ Group also seeks foreign experts, but the uncompetitive labor legislation has proved an obstacle. This means that HR challenges need to be tackled intensively and actively. Our partnership with Ravne Secondary School will be strengthened by offering practical training for the students there. The SIJ Group also has an excellent partnership with the B2B Education Center. "Another way to find employees in technical fields is through scholarships: this year we are offering a total of 68. We are working in close cooperation with local education institutions, and following our initiative, after 20 years this school year has seen a new generation of students in Ravne na Koroškem enroll in the metallurgy technician program. 17 students have enrolled. We also have great hopes for the Act on Apprenticeship that is currently under preparation. Companies need qualified workers and this will be a welcome opportunity for us to participate in their training," said the SIJ Group HR Manager, Mojca Veble, about this comprehensive, active approach to solving the lack of human resources.
At close to 1000m2, with four lecture rooms and a meeting room, the SIJ Education and Training Center can accommodate up to 140 people. Additional rooms will be provided on the ground floor to create comfortable premises for the education of the employees of the two SIJ Group companies for the disabled.
The modern education center will also be open to others. External partners will be able to use it for education, business meetings and other events where easily modifiable rooms and quality programs are required.
"Before the end of this year, we will organize up to 12 education courses and events totaling 215 hours or 66 days, with 657 participants," said the SIJ Education and Training Center Manager, Janja Rakovec Bodnaruk, who is eagerly anticipating the busy schedule and numerous training sessions ahead. "The SIJ Education and Training Center will provide a single education and mentorship system, enabling us to develop the competencies and knowledge of our employees and to promote the transfer of knowledge within and between the companies of the SIJ Group," she added.
The SIJ Group is the largest Slovenian vertically integrated metallurgist group, ranked among the top market positions in the European and world niche steel markets. In addition to metallurgy (the basic activity), the SIJ Group is also involved in the food industry (investment in Perutnina Ptuj) and employs a total of some 7,000 people in Slovenia and abroad. In the first half of 2016 the SIJ Group generated EUR 413.9 million in revenues, with an EBITDA of EUR 60.1 million and a net profit of EUR 24.6 million. With products available on over 80 markets worldwide, the SIJ Group is one of Slovenia's largest exporters.
Dr. Denis Mancevič, Director of Corporate Communications