Young Professionals 2020

For the second year in a row, Ragn-Sells Sweden is appointing three recently graduated engineers as part of the “Young Professionals” initiative. The aim of the initiative is to secure future expertise in line with the company’s overall strategy. No sooner had the first batch of Young Professionals completed the programme just before summer, than the new batch was already in placements with the company.

08 Mar 2021

Alexander Nikonoff, Sofie Östrem and Jonathan Banister are recent graduates, and since August 2020 they have had permanent positions as production engineers at Ragn-Sells. Unlike a traditional new appointment, they start with a 10-month introduction as part of the Young Professionals initiative, during which time they are given both theoretical and practical help at the start of their professional careers.

- Getting timetabled practical experience out in the company, access to a mentor and a number of training courses gives me a unique chance to really get to know the company. I’ll be finding out how things work “out in the field", which will provide me with invaluable knowledge in the future, says Alexander Nikonoff, who last spring completed his MSc in chemical biology at Linköping University.

Unique opportunity for new recruits

This year, Young Professionals employees are at two of Ragn-Sells’ facilities in Sweden: Högbytorp outside Stockholm and Häradsudden just outside Norrköping. Högbytorp will be welcoming its second Young Professionals participant, while the one at Häradsudden represents the first such position.

- Young Professionals really is a unique opportunity, says Erik Gustafsson, department manager at Ragn-Sells’ Häradsudden, not just for the recent graduate, but also for our company. We get the opportunity to show how to turn theory into practice, and they also challenge those of us who have been with the company for some time with new ideas, approaches and possible solutions.

The circular economy requires new expertise

In a circular economy, there is no room for the kind of activity currently conducted by Ragn-Sells – waste management based on linear instruments. And this is why, for the past several years, the company has been working on a new strategy – one based entirely on approaching a circular society. Based on this new strategy, a number of challenges have also been identified – one of which is how to secure expertise for future waste-management operations.

- We need to be proactive and to ensure that we are at the forefront in terms of understanding and of expertise with respect to waste management, both now and in the future, says Caroline Hübenette, HR manager for the Treatment & Detox business area within Ragn-Sells Sweden. With the Young Professionals programme, we are laying the foundations for addressing future solutions in sustainability and circular flows, and in this way ensuring our future growth.

Much more than being practical

Each participant has been assigned a mentor within the company with whom they will have regular meetings during the first part of their employment at Ragn-Sells – a person to reach out to, someone who knows the company but is not even their line manager. In parallel with the programme’s solid training package, they also take part in current projects in and around current operations.

- I have already got to be involved in and ran a project at this site in which we replaced the fuel in our vehicles with fossil-free HVO diesel, says Alexander Nikonoff, and I’ve been on a course to become a gas manager for our leachate gas plant. It’s been really instructive and interesting as even during my studies I had decided to specialise in gas.

On completion of the programme in June 2021, Young Professionals will continue working full-time in their roles as production engineers within Ragn-Sells.