Kazakhstanskaya Pravda, December 8, 2005

By Ludmila KORINA

Without a doubt, the importance and prestige of education is growing constantly. In the Burlin district, where the Karachaganak field is located, quantity and quality knowledge have a specific price.

Strict requirements are placed on both the local and foreign employees of the consortium developing the field. Burlin District Akim, Kairgali Imashev has named two priority goals, which are the creation of favourable conditions for the development of small and medium size business, and a further improvement in the material base at educational institutions. The presentation of the new business centre event in Aksai has brought together these two goals. The founders of this centre have very large scale, although real and achievable plans.

During all the years of the development of Karachaganak in Priural’e, there has been a saying, which is, “All roads lead to Aksai”. The city is a multi-lingual one, and nationality, skin color and age do not matter. Professionals must possess solid knowledge. The language of inter-ethnic communication in the city is English, and one who knows it well can count on a good salary. For professionals in the oil and gas field, it is even better. High salaries increase overall purchasing power. The field cannot accept everyone of course, but there is unlimited space present for engaging in entrepreneurial activities. Determine your area of expertise, propose a profitable business project, and you can succeed. Of course, the hardest thing is during the beginning.

During the field construction, tens of thousands Kazakhstani workers came to Aksai. Following the completion of the second stage of Karachaganak development however, not all of them left. Some built a house and started a family, and went looking for another job. In order to assist these workers during the start, the Burlin District Akimat and the DAMU West Kazakhstan Entrepreneurs Association joined their efforts. The project is funded by KPO, and the investors are good at choosing reliable partners.

DAMU has worked with people who have decided to open their own business for several years, and the organisation has a flawless reputation is flawless. DAMU was established in 2002 as a loan organisation, which granted credit to rural residents. During the beginning of the Aul support programme, the agrarian sector was experiencing some hard times, and second-tier banks refused to accept rural property as collateral for loans. DAMU however, counted everything, including equipment, livestock and real estate, and it turned out that the risk that they assumed was justified. From the very beginning, their return rate on the loans that they provided was 100%.

The profits that were gained were used for increasing fixed capital, their loan portfolio, and number of clients. The amounts of their loans more than doubled as compared to those of 2003, and KPO also allocated funds during that time for the support of the rural people. The consortium management had the opportunity to find out that the association works in a transparent and open manner, applying its experience in international cooperation rationally and in a well-organised way. It also has sufficient experience in training budding entrepreneurs. All of this will be useful for the development of small and medium size businesses in Aksai. During the opening ceremony for the business centre, Paolo Campelli pointed out that this joint project will assist the entrepreneurs and farmers of the Burlin district to obtain access to the latest technologies, as well as loans necessary for the expansion of their businesses, and the creation of new jobs. This will ensure conditions that are positive for the sustainable development of the region. The DAMU Chairman Serik Kairshin said that the association’s activity is aimed toward several different directions. These areas will be managed by three different departments, including the Analysis, Training, and Funding departments.

The functions of the first department are monitoring, sociological research, and the study of supply and demand. New entrepreneurs will not make mistakes during the selection of their proposed area of operations, as the association also provides help in forecasting the most attractive and profitable business. The training process includes theoretical preparation, practical lessons and training.

The centre experts not only provide help in prepare business projects, but also in project implementation. Beginners are able to request advice during the project initiation stage. The funding department examines the project from the point of view of profitability, and provides recommendations on reducing risk, and helps in obtaining loans.

The business incubator provides rooms for rent at low prices, and the rent is not collected during the first 6 months.

According to the District Akim Kairgali Imashev, businesses are already penetrating the production sector, with furniture, dishes, tiles and other goods. The business centre will allow for bringing area businesses to a new level.

An additional important sector is agricultural processing. Aksai was named the city of bread at some point in its history, and the Burlin district, with its fertile lands is considered the garner of the region. A return to its previous reputation is an important goal, and the district authorities are now thinking about more rational and profitable methods for the production and processing of agricultural goods. The market is a huge one.

A few days before the business centre opened, an event occurred at the field related to the education process. Almost 50 employees from the KPO Production Directorate completed a two year Supervisory Management Programme training, certified by the Chartered Institute of Management. The training was conducted without interrupting the production process. Such events are an integral part of the investors’ policy of personnel nationalisation. This refers to their goal to replace foreign specialists with Kazakhstani personnel during the field operation stage. For the improvement of the professional skills of managers, the best Kazakhstani and foreign teachers were invited. The students learned modern methods of labour organisation, information flow management systems, production risk control measures, and delegation of responsibility, etc. During the ceremony for awarding the completion certificates, KPO Production Director Cameron Crawford said that the programme has accelerated the development of the managerial skills of Kazakhstani personnel, which will assist in their further career growth. The process for forming the management team is a well thought out one. Only the most able and active employees, with solid prospects for further career growth are chosen. The Personnel Development and Nationalisation Sector Director, O. Rastorgueva said that the quality of training corresponds to international standards, and the programme has already proven its effectiveness.

This is why KPO has already made its decision on the second intake of students. The investors have provided enough funding for the training of employees. An absence of professionalism always manifests itself in losses, whereas knowledge turns into profits.