How to get a grant under the AKFA FutureStep program: advice from an expert committee
The AKFA Group experts told about the grant program for students of technical universities, and also shared the selection criteria at all stages.
The pace of development of computer technology and ubiquitous digitalization have set a new tone for demanded professions. Today, IT and computer engineering specialists have come to the fore.
Director of the RND center Alisher Sirozhiddinov, head of the corporate university AKFA Group Ozoda Saidkarimova and director of the IT center Dmitry Zhukov told how the qualifying stages of AKFA FutureStep are held and what students need to pay attention to when submitting applications.
How did the idea of the AKFA FutureStep grant program come about?
Alisher Sirozhiddinov: “The labor market today is experiencing an acute shortage of specialists in technical areas. This is especially true for highly qualified personnel in the field of IT and computer engineering. Therefore, the idea of creating grants has been brewing for a long time.
But Kamran Gulamov (CEO of AKFA Group) pushed to the final decision-making: we started a project that needed to be implemented in a short time. And we would have to suspend the rest of the work, throwing all our energy into this project. Then the understanding came that it was necessary to educate personnel ourselves, to attract students who could work in the company immediately after graduating from universities."
Dmitry Zhukov: “As such, grant support is not a new system. However, in the case of our company, it is used as an additional measure of support for gifted and progressive-minded students. This program allows you to carry out targeted work with young people and gives you the opportunity to convey your thoughts and ideas to the top management of one of the largest manufacturing companies in Uzbekistan."
Ozoda Saidkarimova: “The lack of narrowly focused specialists pushed the creation of a grant system. Therefore, the company has come to the conclusion that it is necessary to find future specialists for work at the stage of training in universities. We have educational institutions with which we cooperate. These are Webster, Inha, Turin Polytechnic University and others. The most promising students with potential can become holders of one of the grants, and in the future - part of the AKFA Group team. "
What are the main objectives of the AKFA FutureStep program?
Alisher Sirozhiddinov: “Receiving a grant is a kind of incentive for gifted students to study and develop further. In the future, we will continue to cooperate with these guys. This is a great opportunity for young people to transform their theoretical skills into practical ones while working for one of the largest companies in Uzbekistan. However, the main goal of the program remains to support young talents in their studies, development and aspirations."
Dmitry Zhukov: “We are a manufacturing company and from our experience we feel a certain shortage of personnel in this direction. Realizing this, the company's management decided on the need to strengthen this area in the medium term. The tasks of the project are:
1) Development of a student support program as a socially significant area;
2) Expanding the areas of professional interests of the company as a whole;
3) Development of human resources.
The company's management attaches great importance to the responsibility that falls on us as a socially responsible company."
Ozoda Saidkarimova: “Receiving grants from AKFA FutureStep assumes that students will develop not only within academic hours, but also independently. For example, the owner of one of the 25 grants can spend it on the purchase of equipment for study, various computer programs, or use it to pay for courses. How exactly to dispose of the grant is up to the student himself."
What are the criteria for the selection of candidates?
Ozoda Saidkarimova: “For the convenience of candidates, a website has been developed where students can submit applications for a grant, familiarize themselves with the composition of the expert commission and receive other information.
Candidates who pass the first round will be invited for testing. It will help determine how analytical and logical a student's mind is. Further, the commission will conduct an initial interview, and the final conversation will take place personally with the CEO of AKFA Group Kamran Gulamov."
Alisher Sirozhiddinov: “The initial familiarization is carried out directly by the management of the relevant departments. The focus is on the most significant proposals and projects for the company.
But this does not mean that non-core or existing projects do not fall into the sphere of professional interests. If the project shows potential or the student is deeply immersed in the subject area, then this is a great opportunity to get a grant."
Dmitry Zhukov: “I do not think that we should set any framework when using AKFA FutureStep grants. In the end, people come to us, focused on the result and clearly aware of their goals.
I have no doubt that the guys who are able to get to the stage of receiving the grant with their hard work, perseverance and determination, are misusing this potential opportunity."
About motivation letters from students
Alisher Sirozhiddinov: “While studying the incoming letters, each member of the expert commission pays attention to certain criteria. For me, for example, the sequence of presentation is important so that there is logic in the letter. Thanks to the structure of the narrative, you can understand what kind of mind the student is, whether he is thinking in the right direction. In any case, each member of the commission evaluates the letters from their own point of view. Then we discuss everything together and come to a common decision in the selection of the most promising."
Dmitry Zhukov: “You need to understand that in this case this is not an exam, but an open platform where promising grant holders can show themselves. The opportunity is given to clearly think over, weigh each word, show the systematic nature of thinking and presenting one's understanding of the prospects. In my opinion, this format implies the most open form of dialogue, because in case of a positive reaction to the letter of motivation, it means not only receiving a grant, but also further cooperation, and this is a really good prospect”
Ozoda Saidkarimova: “There are different motivation letters. I am glad that today's youth are ambitious, with far-reaching goals and plans. This is a big plus for Uzbekistan in the future. First of all, attention is paid to the student's goal, his loyalty to the company. All this is spelled out in the criteria."
Experts agreed unanimously: many letters are expressed in compressed format. It means that students of the 21st century have systematic thinking, purposefulness and incredible ambitions.
Tips for Students for a Grant
Alisher Sirozhiddinov: “I would advise the candidates for a grant, first of all, to be bolder in writing a motivation letter. There is no need to be afraid of the global coverage of your direction, the main thing is to focus on the main thing, not to deviate from the topic."
Dmitry Zhukov: “There is no need to try to grasp the immensity. Any specific case, a topic understandable for the applicant himself, will automatically move him to the winning half of the field. Write what you know about and what you understand, because further dialogue will go around the topic you have established.
It must be remembered that managers who evaluate motivation letters are practitioners with extensive experience and outlook. The motivation letter is essentially a first encounter, so it is important that it makes the right impression on the experts."
Ozoda Saidkarimova: “For my part, I would like to say that students are more attentive when drawing up a motivation letter. Take your time, read it again. And, of course, try to be more relaxed when talking about your life goals and dreams. Remember, everyone has a chance. Therefore, it is worth showing your talent, it will help you get closer to receiving a grant."
On May 20, the first stage ends - the acceptance of applications. This will be followed by a second - assessment. It will be conducted by experts and top managers of the AKFA Group.
The program is designed to support gifted youth and is designed to create the necessary conditions for motivating the development of intellectual and creative abilities.
AKFA Future Step applies to third-year students of universities in Uzbekistan in the areas of "Finance", "Engineering", "IT-technologies".
You can apply and get acquainted with additional information on the website: www.futurestep.akfagroup.com
The AKFA Group seeks and develops talents to build together the future of technology and engineering science in Uzbekistan.
Kamran Gulamov, the CEO of the AKFA Group
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