Best in Profession 2023

EL5-Energo power plant operators became prize-winners in the All-Russian professional skills contest “Best in Profession.” Over the course of a week, 52 power industry workers from 28 regions of the country underwent 4 stages of assessment.

The jury checked the professional skills of the participants and the level of their theoretical knowledge. The venue for the federal stage of the contest was “Sirius” in Krasnodar Territory, whereas “ERA of Russia” Association and the public organization “All-Russian Electrical Trade Union” were the organizers of the event.

The heroes of today's story are Alexander Rud from Sredneuralskaya GRES, Alexey Dryukker from Konakovskaya GRES and Alexey Vinokurov from Nevinnomysskaya GRES. We talked with them about preparation for the contest, first emotions after announcement of the results, and highlights in their careers.

Alexander Rud (SUGRES) took the third place in the absolute “Best Power Plant Operator” category.
He has been in the profession for 15 years, he started in coal generation, and for the last 6 years he has been working with gas units. Filled with energy and emotions after the contest, Alexander answered our key questions.

What were your first emotions/thoughts after the results were announced?

- There were several emotions: joy, surprise and relief. When the top three winners were announced and my name was not mentioned, it made me nervous. The excitement intensified when my main competitor received the award in the special “Best Senior Operator of Boilers” category! I really counted on it, in case I’m not among the top three. And this award was leaving me before my eyes. “Well, that’s all...” I thought at that moment, although hope still glimmered in my soul. And then the presenter announces an honorable third place and calls my name! That was great! Standing on stage and accepting congratulations, for the first time in the last 2 weeks I felt relief, I could exhale and relax. And now I’m coming home, to the Urals, and not empty-handed.

How did you prepare for the “Best in Profession” contest?

- Preparation for the contest was serious. For a month and a half I had a real “training camp”. The management of Sredneuralskaya GRES organized good preparation. I was given an office for classes and provided with the necessary educational materials and equipment. Protective equipment, medical kits, and Gosha the robotic simulator were right in the office. Every morning I started with providing first aid to a victim of electric current, followed by resuscitation, then I analyzed situational tasks (providing first aid for bleeding, electrical burns, loss of consciousness, etc.). I continued with an automated personnel training system (APTS, solving tasks on various electrical safety rules). Then there was a break for lunch, and after it I contacted the mentor and the guys from other branches via Skype and we practiced the work permit system (WPS).

Each one of us prepared 2 permits with errors in electronic form and sent them to another person. After 15 minutes, we had an analysis, where we identified how many errors were found by each of us. I also practiced going into the workshop for a detailed inspection of the equipment and the area, where I tried to find as many concerns and defects as possible. This is how I developed attentiveness, which later helped me a lot when passing the third stage of the contest. I studied seven days a week and came to the power plant on Saturdays and Sundays. This preparation gave good results.

Tell us more about the stages of the contest? What do you remember the most?

- The contest consisted of four stages: the 1st stage - APTS, the 2nd stage - providing first aid to a victim of electric current (followed by resuscitation), then you had to draw a ticket with the number of a situational problem (4 tasks in total), the 3rd stage - viewing a video and detecting the maximum number of concerns, the 4th stage - WPS, in two permits it was necessary to find 5 errors each. A certain time was given to complete each stage, that is, there was no time to hesitate, but hasty actions were no good either.

The most difficult stage is, of course, providing first aid; many failed it. The complexity of the stage is due to the fact that in order to receive 100 points for completing it, you need to release the victim from electric current and perform resuscitation within 5 minutes, making no errors at the same time. In case of even one small mistake, the 10 bonus points will not be awarded! So, instead of 100 points you get 90, and this is already a serious underperformance. The atmosphere at the stage was tense: at least 2 pairs of eyes (instructor and assistant) are constantly watching you, evaluating your every action, monitoring the time using a stopwatch. There were cases when people did everything correctly, but out of nervousness, they forgot to call an ambulance, or they gave incorrect address and circumstances of the incident, and this resulted in a fine as well.

After successful resuscitation, it was necessary to draw a ticket with a situational task. My colleagues and I perfected 3 tasks: bleeding, electrical burn and loss of consciousness, but it was not possible to practice an ankle fracture, since it was necessary to apply an immobilization splint to the leg of a robotic simulator, and we, unfortunately, did not have one. And so, having successfully completed the first half of the second stage and having completed it in 5 minutes (receiving 10 bonus points), I, of course, got ticket number 3 - an ankle fracture! The robotic simulator is tuned very sensitively, and any slight touch near the fracture site triggers a light and sound signal, for which 2 points are deducted. And at the end you also need to apply cold to the fracture site. Thus I received several penalty points, like many other participants.

I also remember the 3rd stage (video). Here I had a serious confrontation with a strong opponent. The fact is that this stage was assessed as per categories, that is, each had an individual video story (boiler operators watched one about boilers, turbine operators - about turbines, and CCGT operators - about CCGT units, respectively). The maximum number of points (100) was awarded to the one who found the most concerns in the respective category, and the rest were already assessed based on the result of the leader. Therefore, it was very important to get 100 points at this stage!

Now about about the video itself. You are given 30 minutes to watch and search for concerns; our video was quite long and consisted of 13 fragments! The video script is usually an inspection of the equipment. Our category involved inspection of a boiler at a coal-fired power plant. At the beginning of my career, I just worked in the boiler department of a coal-fired power plant, and this helped me a lot! I detected exactly 100 concerns. After watching the video, we were familiarized with the results. It turned out that the representative of Tomsk CHPP-3 detected the most concerns in our category (42). They scored me only 37 out of 100! Of course, I did not agree with the result and filed an appeal - it is allowed by the rules. Within an hour, a revision was organized, where the deputy chief judge and I once again looked at the video frames with concerns that were not counted. I had to defend every concern, refer to the rules, GOSTs, which was not easy. As a result, they scored me 43 concerns, which allowed me to become the leader of the stage, beating the representative of Tomsk CHPP-3 by 1 point! There were no difficulties with the remaining stages.

What advice would you give to your colleagues who will be preparing for similar contests?

- First of all, take your preparation very seriously! To successfully complete some stages (for example, first aid provision), you need to try to recreate the environment that will expect you at the contest. For example, in my office I set up a place for training, where I had a “victim” lying on the floor, an electric wire was touching his hand, and I also made an imitation of a switch that had to be turned off in order to de-energize the victim. Having recreated the situation as closely as possible, I practiced this situation every day, turning on the stopwatch. As a result, I brought these actions to automaticity.

Secondly, you need to practice every day. We kept practicing, even when we arrived to the contest venue; the nearest pharmacy welcomed us as family members, because every day we bought bandages there for dressings in large amounts.

Another important tip: if you are already in the contest and participating in the stages, do not hesitate to submit an appeal. Don’t be afraid to challenge the commission’s decision if it doesn’t seem fair to you. In my case, this is what helped me get the much needed 6 points at the third stage. If I had given up then and not defended my position, the result would have been completely different. A competent companion with experience in participating in such contests is very important. In our case, it was the Leading Expert in charge of Equipment Operation at PJSC EL5-Energo, Maxim Nikolaevich Artyukhov, for which we thank him!

What skills and knowledge do you think are most important for a power plant operator to achieve high performance?

- For an operator, such qualities as attentiveness, composure and operational thinking are very important. An attentive operator will notice deviations in the operation of the equipment in time and intervene in the technological process in time to prevent an emergency situation and the consequences. It is better to prevent the development of an emergency situation in time than to unsuccessfully try to eliminate its consequences. To work successfully, an operator must have at least basic knowledge of the heat engineering, combustion theory (if we are talking about a boiler operator), and the requirements of the Rules of Safety and Technical Regulations, Rules of Technical Operation as well as Federal Norms and Regulations.

What moments in your career do you consider most significant and why?

- As I said earlier, I started my career at a coal-fired power plant located in the north of Irkutsk region - the Ust-Ilimsk Thermal Power Plant. There my formation as a specialist began. By the will of fate, I changed my place of residence and work, but did not leave the power industry. A significant moment in my life and career was moving to another region and finding a job at the Sredneuralskaya GRES, where I continue to work as of the present day. Here I have been finally formed as a specialist, here I realize myself and develop, improving my wealth of experience, sharing it with colleagues and receiving in return. It was here that I had the opportunity to compete at the All-Russian Professional Skills Contest and show a good result! There have been 2 power plants in my life and I am grateful to each of them.

What advice can you give to young professionals who are looking to achieve similar success in the power industry?

- First of all, love your job, enjoy the process, try to become the best at your workplace, in your position, learn from colleagues with a wealth of knowledge and, of course, do not forget about self-development.


Alexey Vinokurov (NGRES) shared his impressions of the contest next.
He won the special “Gas Turbine Operator” category.

What were your first emotions/thoughts after the results were announced?

- The first was a feeling of self-satisfaction. I was proud that EL5-Energo name was heard throughout the country during my award ceremony and the awarding of my colleague from SUGRES, and joy that I did not let down my management and my colleagues who believed in me.

How did you prepare for the “Best in Profession” contest?

- Preparation for the contest was at the highest level. It was held in absentia format at my power plant and full-time at Sirius University, for which I would give special thanks to the management of EL5-Energo. I would like to pay special attention to our companion, whose participation in the preparation was one of the decisive victory factors.

Tell us more about the stages of the contest? What do you remember the most?

- The easiest stage for me was the first stage ­­ – online testing for knowledge of regulatory and technical documents in all areas of the power industry using the APTS software package.

The second stage was the most interesting - first aid provision. Reanimation of a rather realistic Gosha-06 simulator. He was without signs of life and it was necessary to solve situational problems. In exam format, a ticket was taken and first aid was provided: electrical burn, loss of consciousness, excessive bleeding or a fractured ankle.

The third stage turned out to be the most difficult - watching a video in which it is necessary to detect the maximum possible number of violations of labor protection requirements and procedures.

Passing the fourth stage was not particularly difficult. It consisted of testing knowledge of the work permit system.

It is worth mentioning that in order to win, all stages had to be completed in the shortest possible time and with special caution. Not everyone could withstand the moral stress.

I remember the communication with the stage judges and the chief judge. From each of them I learned something new and gained significant experience in my professional sphere.


Alexey Dryukker (KGRES) became 22nd among all participants in the contest. Together with his colleagues, he also went through a long and difficult preparation for the contest and did his best during the contest.

What were your first emotions/thoughts after the results were announced?

- After participating in the contest, I had only positive emotions.

How did you prepare for the “Best in Profession” contest?

- I took the preparation for the contest as seriously as possible, because I defended the honor and dignity of the company. To be honest, it was not easy, I prepared day and night, looking through the documentation and refreshing my knowledge. I would like to thank my supervisors for helping me with all the issues during the preparation for the contest.

Tell us more about the stages of the contest? What do you remember the most?

- What I remember the most was the first aid stage. An international class instructor told us from his own experience about preparing for the contest.


The All-Russian contest “Best in Profession” is held annually. It is aimed at increasing the prestige of blue-collar professions and their popularization among young people, as well as disseminating advanced experience and best practices in training specialists.