More folks from everywhere are doing it--"it" being taking proactive steps to get the engineers and technicians they're going to need in the next couple of decades. The following popped up in my mailbox yesterday. If folks less than a century removed from a largely rural, nomadic/agricultural society can get with the program, surely we can solve the problem here. KAZAKHSTAN--(Marketwire - June 23, 2008) - With world oil prices booming, it has never been more important for Kazakhstan to produce a continuous stream of highly qualified and motivated engineers to help the country maximize revenues from this important and increasingly scarce commodity. The Kazakh-British Technical University (KBTU) in Almaty is providing a variety of undergraduate and graduate courses that will equip the next generation of Kazakh engineers with the skills they need to be employed by both Kazakh and international energy and energy-related companies. To further improve both the technical and practical content of the KBTU's Process Engineering course, the University has linked up with Invensys Process Systems (IPS), a major supplier of technical and IT support systems to the oil and gas industry. IPS has offices in Almaty and Atyrau and specializes in increasing the integration and collaboration within various process systems and in developing personnel at all levels of an organization to increase productivity. Based on the company's experience and that of the KBTU's Engineering Faculty, IPS agreed to fully equip a technical laboratory which uses InFusion, the world's first Enterprise Control System. The laboratory will feature the latest technological equipment, including 12 personal computers, 15 large-screen monitors and three servers, as well as a bank of micro controllers for automated systems. This automated system will allow students to develop crucial skills to manage enterprise processes for many industries, including the strategically important Kazakh oil and gas industry. Opening the new technical laboratory in front of a substantial audience was a representative of the President of Nursultan Nazarbayev's Educational Foundation and Patrick Buffet, President of IPS in EMEA. Following the opening, Degree Certificates were presented to recent graduates of KBTU, sponsored by IPS. It is anticipated that graduate numbers for IT courses at KBTU will dramatically increase in subsequent years as the benefits of this investment are fully realized. Significantly, to ensure that this particular facility continues to remain at the leading edge of process technology, IPS has also agreed to fund a permanent Chair of Computing and Software. The appointment, which has yet to be made, will develop a fully integrated training laboratory to improve students' information technology skills and qualifications as they relate to the financial and administrative branches of the economy. Iskander Kalybekovich Beisembetov, Rector of the KBTU, said, "We are delighted that IPS has chosen to sponsor the Chair of Computing and Software and, in particular, for providing a state-of-the-art technical laboratory that utilizes the most current software and hardware technology." "Sponsoring the KBTU is a natural step for IPS. We have been committed to investing in Kazakhstan since 1998, and we look forward to helping develop the next generation of Kazakh engineers," said Ken Fox, Vice President of Marketing for IPS in EMEA. Since opening their new office in Atyrau, IPS has enjoyed considerable business success, largely due to the company's commitment to recruiting and training local engineers and to providing a real career structure within a global company. In fact, the company's goal is to ensure that by 2010, more than 80 percent of its employees in Kazakhstan will be Kazakh nationals, a figure which exceeds the government targets for businesses operating in Kazakhstan.