“Practice gives me a greater understanding of the entire process”
When Alexander Nikonoff completed his MSc in chemical biology at Linköping University in spring 2020, he was given the opportunity to jump in to the parental leave vacancy at Ragn-Sells’ Häradsudden facility outside Norrköping, Sweden. Shortly afterwards, when the application for Ragn-Sells’ Young Professionals programme opened, Alexander’s position was made permanent and he was given one of the three places on the programme.
- I was convinced I would have the parental leave job for just over a year, says Alexander Nikonoff, but soon I was offered a permanent position and a place on the Young Professionals programme. It has provided me with timetabled practical experience out in the company, access to a mentor and several training courses that represent a unique chance to really get to know the company. It gives med knowledge on how it works “out in the field”.
In autumn 2019, Ragn-Sells Sweden launched a new programme with a focus on young and newly graduated production engineers, with the aim of helping to secure current and future expertise within the company. The Young Professionals programme is a 10-month programme in which theory from training is linked to practical work throughout the company. It gives participants an opportunity to get to know the company and its operations on a broad scale. The recent graduates are also offered a mentor from the organisation.
During his studies, Alexander did extra work in the laboratory and discovered early on that gas, in all its various forms, was something he was particularly interested in. Alexander is now half-way through the programme and has already gotten the chance to lead projects, as well as having completed his further training as a Gas Manager – a requirement for any facility that works with gas.
As part of the Young Professionals programme, participants complete several training courses in addition to practical experience in many parts of the company, not just at their own facility.
- The practical experience is giving me a better understanding of the entire process, says Alexander. I’ve already done practical work on the ash line, where I spent 3 days learning to drive wheel loaders. This has given me a greater understanding of how future projects can be affected by activities and by external circumstances.
Something that Alexander comes back to is people.
- Even at my initial interview, I was struck by how many interesting people work at Ragn-Sells, said Alexander. There’s a fantastic breadth, with everyone from environmental services workers to chemists and doctoral students. We had allocated an hour to the appointment interview, but I ended up spending half a day there. I had an opportunity to sit down and speak with a number of people and I was given a tour of the facility.
- I was struck by a pioneering spirit and the vision within the company. I didn’t experience any stress despite all the opportunities piling up and so much having to be done yesterday, says Alexander in conclusion.