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How childhood passion turned into a profession


KAI graduate, the member of the WorldSkills Russia movement Nikita Semin speaks on the future of aviation.

In 2020, Nikita Semin defends his bachelor's thesis, and successfully completes his studies at Kazan National Research Technological University named after A.N. Tupolev (KAI). During his years of study at the university, Nikita has been actively involved in the WorldSkills Russia movement, which is a part of the presidential platform «Russia - Land of Opportunity”. In the list of major achievements of one of the best graduates is the bronze medal of the WorldSkills Kazan 2019 in the skill area "Composite Technologies". The future aircraft manufacturer also took part in the Composite Battle World Cup Moscow in 2018, where he took 2nd place. In 2019, he deserved the silver award at the all-Russian Student Olympiad "Computer Simulation in Aircraft" named after M.P. Simonov.

- Nikita, why did you choose the profession of an aircraft designer?

- I’ve started building airplane models since I was a kid, because I was passionate about aviation, airplanes and everything connected with this sphere. Luckily, my childhood hobby prompted the choice of my future occupation and university - KAI named after A.N. Tupolev, the place where I started my fascinating journey.  I chose “Aviation” as a major for a Bachelor's degree.

 Any aircraft consists of complex components. For example, a modern passenger aircraft has up to six million parts! And each of them has its own characteristics, due to the material which it is made of. New materials are being discovered because of the development of technology - even materials such as composites have entered the aeromodelling.

- Why did you decide to join the WorldSkills movement?

- I can say that I am a gambling person: if I do something, I strive to be the best. When I entered the university, I’d already had certain skills to work with composite materials in aeromodelling. And I wanted to evolve in this direction, to compete with other people. This would definitely give me a chance to mix with like-minded people, help me to expand my social circle with such enthusiasts as was I. Thus, I would get some deeper experience of working with composites, learn more about new technologies.

- How did participation and victories in the WorldSkills championships influence you?

- Almost immediately after the nationals in 2017, I was invited to work at the engineering center at KAI. That was the beginning of my professional career. I still work there, and it contributes to my professional growth for sure. The WorldSkills movement provided huge number of new skills, meeting professionals in their fields and future colleagues, my expectations to work with new materials and technologies were matched.

In order to be prepared for WorldSkills Kazan 2019, we participated in various advanced training courses. The most difficult part was to detach from other important things as a way to concentrate only on the upcoming competition. Fortunately, my university supported me in every possible way. Obviously WorldSkills significantly influenced my personal growth as a professional.

- How did your groupmates react to the fact that now the winner of international competitions is studying with them?

- We have a very friendly group. We always support each other in all endeavors. The groupmates watched my performance online, cheered for me and were very happy with the results.

- And how does your coworkers react that you are a “rookie” and already a prize-winner of international championships?

- My colleagues appreciate it because they also put a lot of effort into my success. They shared with me their valuable knowledge, and prepared me well for the competition.

- Who is your professional role model? Who are you inspired by?

- Now in Russia there are many advanced design bureaus that are engaged in design of unmanned systems and work with composite materials. One of such bureaus is DS "Arkhipov". I attentively monitor activities of their design studio, and I would like to level up with them for someday.

- What are your plans after graduation?

- I'm going to enter to a Master’s degree program, and continue working at KAI. Personally I find the search for new solutions for the design and manufacture of atypical parts of aeronautical equipment using new materials and technologies the most exciting part in my profession. In the Western world, the use of composite materials receives significant investment, and obviously its application is growing rapidly. In Russia, in my opinion, to this area was given a significant attention only short time ago. Nevertheless, new materials of Russian manufacture are already being developed and introduced; examples of new techniques using these materials are being modelled.

- Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

- I would like to grow as a specialist, and definitely to see myself in the leading positions - perhaps the chief designer of air systems, gliders, and aircrafts. For now, I plan to continue my studies and work in the Republic of Tatarstan, in Kazan.

- What the airplanes of the future might look like?

- Nowadays the aircraft designers aspire to reduce weight of the aircraft structure and to increase its carrying capacity. I can assume that in the future airplanes will probably look like trains. I mean in terms of air traffic performance, thus, the planes will possess a large passenger capacity. The safety enhancement of air transportation has been the main focus for the past ten years. It is possible that in the next five-ten years, we will be able to see the results of their work.

- In your opinion, will the WorldSkills movement provide the competitive advantage of our country in the aircraft industry?

- The WorldSkills movement provides practical skills that are very close to actual production conditions. So, at the stage of secondary and higher education young professionals already have an impressive experience, which sometimes exceeds the skills and knowledge of workers at the aviation enterprises. I hope that the WorldSkills generation will be much more efficient than the current generation in terms of the ability to work with new materials.

- How will you and your peers develop the aircraft industry in our country? Will we become the best in this sphere thanks to such young and talented specialists, what do you think?

- I would like to mention that today our country is investing a lot of resources in the aviation industry to design new materials in particular. I think we will contribute to this as much as possible, because we eager to learn and work. We’re well-trained and educated to strive to develop new materials and put them to its intended use.


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