***16.06.2008

Center-Invest, SAP CIS and the Southern Federal University are to train IT specialists.

In May 2008, Center-Invest Bank, SAP CIS and the Southern Federal University signed an agreement on cooperation under the SAP University Alliance Program. The parties have agreed to set up a new SAP solutions training centre at the Southern Federal University, and they have undertaken to develop the curricula for the courses in SAP products. The first intake of students is scheduled for this year.

Center-Invest was the first bank to take the initiative of supporting the teaching of SAP advanced information technologies in the Southern Federal District.

SAP is the world’s leading supplier of business software solutions. More than 47,800 companies in 120 countries run its applications. Center-Invest is the first Russian bank to be introducing a localised version of the SAP for Banking operating system.

The SAP University Alliance Program was launched in Russia, the CIS and the Baltic states in December 2004. This international programme provides educational institutions with access to SAP business solutions that faculty can use as modern teaching tools. By the end of 2007 more than 500 universities in 36 countries had signed up for the University Alliance Program, and it encompassed 130,000 students and 2,200 members of faculty.

Under the agreement, Center-Invest Bank is to provide the university with remote access to the bank’s SAP solutions demo versions and it is to help develop the materials for the university’s SAP courses. Center-Invest has also undertaken to oversee the running of the programme.

As well as helping create a setting in which students can obtain theoretical knowledge of SAP solutions, Center-Invest also intends to offer future students work placements, and then at a later date the opportunity to be employed by the bank.

Center-Invest Bank is currently holding a selection process for final year students and graduates of technical and economic institutes who wish to participate in the bank’s initiative to bring in a SAP for Banking system. Applications are to be submitted to e.kasyan@centrinvest.ru and the application form can be downloaded from: http://www.centrinvest.ru/doc/hr2.doc.

“Under the University Alliance Program the Southern Federal University has already been provided with teaching materials for SAP courses, and training of the university's teaching staff is underway”, says Viktor Taratukhin, head of SAP's Higher Education Partnership Programs. “In the near future SAP will run an introductory seminar in Taganrog for the university's faculty. This seminar will look at the basics of SAP and at SAP banking solutions. After that, the dedicated teaching staff will attend free courses at SAP's training centre (in Moscow).”

Center-Invest Bank has no doubt that the students of today will be at the vanguard of socioeconomic development in southern Russia in the future. Specialists in SAP solutions are among the professionals that are most in demand both in Russia and worldwide.

Students and graduates of other technical and economic institutes are also welcome to apply for the SAP professional development courses. The Southern Federal University will begin running the courses in November 2008.

Center-Invest Bank has been supporting the development of education and science in the Southern Federal District for the last 15 years. The 150 top students from Rostov’s higher education institutions receive scholarships from Center-Invest. In 2007 the bank increased each scholarship to RUR 20,000, and it provided a total of RUR3.5m in educational grants. Chairman of the Board of Directors of Center-Invest Bank Professor Vasily Vysokov (Doctor of Economics) is a member of the Southern Federal University's Supervisory Board.

In 2007 Center-Invest set up the Education and Science in the Southern Federal District Endowment Fund. This fund is used to provide financial assistance to undergraduate and postgraduate students and to encourage the best teaching staff and young scientists in southern Russia. It is also used to assist students with the costs of attending international conferences. In 2008 the capital of the fund exceeded RUR35m.

Experience has shown that close cooperation between universities and business structures can make the educational process more effective. This collaboration between a leading university and one of the largest banks in southern Russia under the University Alliance Program is set to provide a practical basis for the development of information technologies and software solutions that will promote effective business management in the Southern Federal District.