Dear Friends,

I am delighted to welcome you at St Petersburg International Youth Labour Forum.

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It is the second the Youth Forum has opened the programme of the ‘big’ Labour Forum. These two events are closely connected and complement one another. The Forum was conceived by St Petersburg University to facilitate an open dialogue between employers, employees, experts, and government officials. Engagement in the open dialogue is the only way to achieve a balance of interests, a balance of demands and requirements of all the involved parties, and, most importantly, to build mutual trust. This is why the Labour Forum is a place to hear the voice of the young as employers, employees, experts, and government officials of tomorrow. The support provided by the Government of St Petersburg to hold the Youth Labour Forum is yet another proof of our commitment to invest in young people.

I fervently hope that your participation in the Youth Labour Forum will become a useful experience, provide new impressions, bring new contacts and inspiration to move forward.

We are living in the fast-paced world of technology created to make our lives better. However, these developments can cause problems we have to foresee and be ready to tackle.  

How will the labour market change when the production staff is replaced by robots? Will the blockchain technology require special qualifications? Will telemedicine and personalised healthcare set new requirements for doctors? We have to look for answers today, before the risks we face become a social problem.

This is why the Forum offers a wide and diverse programme of events. The key focus is on discussions. They will result in initiatives and suggestions, including those for the participants of the ‘big’ Labour Forum which starts tomorrow.

It is my great pleasure to welcome you all here, at Mikhailovskaya Dacha, the high-tech campus of St Petersburg University. Here we managed to preserve the unique historical heritage and create the conditions  to study, implement scientific and entrepreneurial projects and, as you can see, accommodate large numbers of the most welcome guests.  

Through my meetings with SPbU students, I can see how the partying ‘Pepsi generation’ is being replaced with the ‘digital generation’. Down-to-earth and single-minded, they seem to be ‘inseparable’ from smartphones, tablets, social networks and Youtube. This is what it takes to become the generation bound to blaze trail into the world of Big Data, robotic production, and management of artificial intelligence. I am confident that your generation will not lose your way in the world of the most advanced technology. You are the ones destined to design and implement them in all the spheres of human activity.