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Students from Ida-Viru County learn how to realise their potential in Estonia


45 secondary school students from Ida-Viru County will be shown around the Mektory innovation centre this Friday, 13 November, where they will hear about developments and opportunities among Estonia’s start-ups. The event is being organised as part of the two-month young leaders training programme ‘Navigator’ of the Integration Foundation and NPO Ida-Viru Youth Academy, which is designed to show young Russian Estonians how they can make something of themselves in the country.

“It’s really important that kids graduating from secondary school get as much engaging information as possible and come into contact with a range of fields when they’re making decisions about their future careers, and their future generally,” said Dmitri Burnašev, the director of the Integration Foundation. “That’s why it’s so important that we contribute to activities aimed at young people that offer them practical advice and examples of the opportunities that are out there in fields they might be interested in. Since kids from Ida-Viru County – especially Russian-speaking kids – often find it harder to get their hands on a sufficient amount of information that speaks to them, it’s vital that we contribute to activities that boost awareness among kids from the area of opportunities that will convince them they can just as successfully make a go of it in Estonia.”

Applications to join the pilot programme were open to active final-year secondary students from Ida-Viru County who show great potential and want to realise that potential but do not see their future as being linked to Estonia. To decide who would be accepted onto the programme, the students were asked to fill in a form which in essence constituted a test. The heads of their schools were then canvassed about the youngsters. A total of 45 students between the ages of 17 and 19 from Narva, Sillamäe, Kohtla-Järve and Jõhvi are taking part. The ‘Navigator’ programme will last for two months and include meetings in and study trips to Jõhvi, Kohtla-Järve, Tallinn, Tartu and Narva.

The programme, which was designed specifically for young people from Ida-Viru County, comprises eight events, two of which have already been held. Natalja Reppo, the Head of Cooperation with the Integration Foundation, says that the participants have now met one another, practised working in teams and contributed to civic initiatives. “Since the younger generation are interested in IT and success stories among Estonian start-ups, the visit to Mektory and finding out about the seed companies there is bound to be one of the highlights of the programme for them,” she said. “They’ll be able to take part in workshops on 3D printing and Lego robotics while they’re there. Then at the end of the month and next month they’ll be visiting the Riigikogu and seeing for themselves how the government works, as well as finding out about what goes into the creative economy and how things are done in the field of medicine. Plus there’ll be a sports day and a public debate entitled ‘Can you be successful in Estonia?’.”

Grigori Senkiv, a member of the management board of the Ida-Viru Youth Academy, praises the participants in the programme: “There’s definitely the potential there for these kids to become successful young leaders, and not just in their part of the country, but in the country as a whole. But for this to happen we need to train them and support them, and show them how they can make something of themselves in Estonia. As part of the programme we’ll be doing our best to convince them that there’s a lot here in this country already that’s worth appreciating, hanging on to and developing further.”

The pilot programme was developed as part of the ‘Activities supporting integration in Estonian society’ project of the European Social Fund. It was designed for active young people from Ida-Viru County whose integration to date has been limited with the aim of involving them more in social activities and showing them how they can realise their potential in Estonia. The activities of the ‘Navigator’ programme are being implemented by the Integration Foundation in cooperation with the NPO Ida-Viru Youth Academy.

More information about ‘Navigator’ can be found online at

For further information please contact:
Natalia Reppo
Head of Cooperation, Integration and Migration Foundation
Telephone: +372 659 9840

Grigori Senkiv
Member of the Management Board, NPO Ida-Viru Youth Academy
Mobile: +372 52 89 227