295 Russian officers will receive diplomas tonight after completing courses in a Russian-British program designed to retrain the officers for civilian life. British General Consul in St. Petersburg Barbara Hay will present the diplomas. In addition, 22 graduates will also receive certificates from Cambridge University after completing English language courses.
The officers completed courses in economics and information sciences disciplines at the Saint Petersburg Institute for Professional Development. The main goal of the courses is to help the officers find work. Therefore, the courses were specially aimed at filling local job vacancies. According to official statistics, 70% of graduates find work within four months after completing the program.
The courses are part of a British program which began in October 1995. Courses are taught at institutions of higher learning in six Russian regions - Moscow, Saint Petersburg, Rostov-on-Don, Samara, Vladivostok and Yekaterinburg. 19,965 officers have already completed the program. In September 2000 the program was expanded to include officers from regions which do not have participating institutions. These officers are also provided room and board at no cost during their training in Saint Petersburg, Rostov-on-Don or Vladivostok.