Raw materials internships for students in East and South-East Europe

After its launch in 2018, an EIT RawMaterials project, RAISESEE, has reported a promising start of its raw materials internship training programme, aimed at over 200 secondary school students (11-18 years old) in the ESEE region (East and South-East Europe). The training activities support future T-shaped professionals at an early stage of their careers and promote higher education in the raw materials related disciplines.

The choice of university studies and the first job placement in a company are two key steps in the development of a career path. Involving students in hands-on training internships in real working environments allows them to make a more informed career choice and become the next generation of innovators in the raw materials sector.

Key features of the Raw Materials Internship programme:

  • Geographical spread across in six countries: Italy’s training model was offered to students in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Romania, Bulgaria, Ukraine, Estonia and Finland.
  • 220 internship placements: 14 students involved in international internships; 27 students awarded with RAISESEE prizes for students; 210 students involved in domestic internships.
  • 95 students exposed to industry as part of RAISESEE project.
  • 28 businesses were involved as active actors of RAISESEE innovation in education and skills development from mineral processing and resource efficiency to substitution, recycling and circular economy.
  • Two jobs granted: one student hired by АНА-ТЕМС company (UA) for eight months stage with salary; and a research assistant in RAISESEE hired by Banja Luka gymnasium.
  • Three scientific papers published (DOIs: 10.1039/d1cp01002f; 10.1007/s10751-021-01763-1; 10.1039/D1SM01468D).

The RAISESEE consortium was led by the National Research Council (CNR), the largest research council in Italy. The project brought together prominent research institutes and universities from Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Estonia, Finland, Romania, Italy, Ukraine, such as the Association of Technology Engineers of Republic of Srpska (ATERS), Dnipro University of Technology (NMU Ukraine), HYdrogen for Development of Environmental Projects (Hydep), Institute of Organic Chemistry with Centre of Phytochemistry, BAS (IOCCP BAS), University of Leoben, National Institute of Materials Physics Bucharest – Magurele (NIMP), Polytechnic University of Milan, University of Banja Luka (UNiBL), University of Banja Luka (UNiBL) and University of Oulu.

Intern Testimonials – what they said:

I was given the chance to work alongside researchers and engineers from the Institute of Molecular Science and Technology in Milan and HyDEP. The project has had already an important impact on my career path – I consider this project the one that really helped me find my academic path – many opportunities are limited only for high-school students. This is a positive step forward for the raw materials sector in widening the net to recruit eager candidates.

Andreea-Ana-Maria Sima, an intern from Romania

The RAISESEE project helped me to develop and expand my knowledge in the area of raw materials. This has definitely influenced my career choice, because I know now that my profession will be related to this area.

Oleksandr Bieliaiev, an intern from Ukraine

RAISESEE allowed me to understand what constitutes effective research and how much effort and time it takes to carry out a project. I reflected on the importance of scientific dissemination and it is now a career direction I want to pursue.

Elisa Offidani, an intern from Italy

ESEE is an important region for the EIT Community, where our activities are focused on bridging the gap in innovation, entrepreneurship and education to unlock the full potential of the region. Since the education project ended in 2021, the RAISESEE consortium wants to build on the success of the programme and submit a new project proposal to continue the good work in the ESEE region, especially in the countries that have not been involved in the programme before.