With shopping malls and grocery stores, coffee shops and restaurants closed for business and other coronavirus restrictions in place, students are struggling to keep their jobs and income. Russian universities, including Open Doors organizers, have started actively employing their own students to help them get through the difficult times.
The universities are offering students work as call center operators, support technicians, cleaning personnel, analysts or assistants to elderly faculty and staff members.
Tomsk State University (TSU) ТГУ, an Open Doors organizer, has created the Uniprofi online job exchange which currently offers access to some 200 vacancies with the university and its industry partners. The database features mostly remote jobs, such as survey researchers, digital archive operators or data analysts. Students can also volunteer as helpers to senior-age faculty and staff. In total, the university has openings in more than 100 occupational areas that it is ready to make available to its students. It seeks to place them in jobs that match their field of study, while consulting their personal preferences.
Far East Federal University (FEFU) ДВФУ/FEFU and Immanuel Kant Baltic Federal University (IKBFU) Балтийский федеральный университет имени Иммануила Канта, have been selected to oversee student placement programs for their entire home regions.
IKBFU is rolling out a pilot project and has already built up a bank of some 200 job vacancies, 90% of them remote. They span a variety of occupations, making it easy for students to find one to suit their field of interest. For now, the jobs being offered are with IKBFU itself but plans are afoot to engage local businesses in this initiative.
FEFU's pilot is also up and running, with vacancies ranging from document controller and call center operator to microservice developer to courier and school club leader.
Other Open Doors organisers are also creating job opportunities in various forms - for both Russian and international students. Russian recruitment agencies have agreed to collaborate with the universities by helping place students in jobs with no prior experience required. If successful, this scheme could be upscaled across this country's higher learning institutions and remain efficient for years after the pandemic is over.