group of people smiling and holding pieces of paper in the air
They did it! Two years of hard work and the NIRAS Young Professional Academy graduates receive their certificates

Celebration! as the second cohort of the NIRAS Young Professional Academy graduate

As the NYPA 2 term comes to a close, we toast the accomplishments of participants and look forward to their next steps

28. May 2019

The end is in sight for the 22 NYPA participants expected to graduate at the end of this month. All the hard work will have paid off as the diverse group of young professionals move on to careers at NIRAS or in the wider development consulting community. The two-year programme, an intensive introduction to the world of development cooperation currently in its third round, draws junior consulting applicants from around the globe as well those from within the organisation, so-called “NIRAS-Across Participants” or NAPs.

Though the programme officially concludes this month, the participants gathered in Belgrade earlier this year for a diploma ceremony to recognise their achievements. This was the last of the group’s five gatherings in Serbia, where they have received step-by-step training over the two years. Between the learning phases in Belgrade, NYPAs and NAPs are deployed in offices around the world, getting hands-on experience in tender writing, business development, and seeing how projects are implemented on the ground.

Very few opportunities allow one to interact with the organisation the way the NYPA programme does. It brings together young professionals from diverse settings and gives them the opportunity to interact with leading practitioners from across the globe. In summary ... its a crash course in understanding how positive changes are effected in this ever-shifting world.

Yovan Mushin, Business Development Manager, NIRAS Kenya who was NAP

“You get to know people in the whole global NIRAS organisation and work on different types of assignments. Some periods have been very intense, and other times you can zoom out a bit and focus on your learning,” says Petter Nordqvist who has been a junior consultant in the programme. “The NYPA setup requires a lot of flexibility and has been challenging both on a professional and a personal level, but the group has always been there as a great support and you learn so much from each other.”

According to Sine Skov, the NYPA Strategy Director, “Beyond their learning opportunities, the NYPA participants have demonstrated their motivation and capability, broadening their skill set while supporting NIRAS in our work.” In addition to the experience they gained in multiple sectors, each participant completed two internal projects, giving them the opportunity to carry out independent work while supporting the overall NIRAS strategy as well as business development.

Most graduates continue on to full-time positions at NIRAS, using the training and experience they received during the programme to help them find their niche. Magdalena Hörst, a graduate from the first NYPA cohort in 2017, who is now based in our Stuttgart office, says “The programme helps you broaden your technical expertise if you’re willing to take on assignments that might not have been on your radar before. Going from being a NYPA to a full-time employee wasn’t a very difficult transition, but you need to be open to new experiences and ready to find out where you fit and what your role will be.”

For those already employed at NIRAS - the NAPS - the programme creates a strong base for sharpening technical skills and knowledge and nurturing the spirit of collegiality.

As Project Manager Jimmy Daka from our Zambia office, explains "I have a deeper understanding of how NIRAS works, its systems, principles, and tools, as well as the dynamics of different clients and donors. The practical nature of the programme exposed us to the real processes of the consulting business and how it goes beyond profit margins in contributing to the global development agenda.

"Personally, I now feel more confident in preparing tenders, managing projects, and engaging with different players like clients, experts, and partners. The cultural diversity in the NYPA group has helped me to naturally and quickly adapt to the NIRAS matrix environment, especially when I need some support from colleagues. Many thanks to management and the NYPA Board for creating this ‘bridge’ for the NAPs to be part of the NYPA Programme …. The efficiency and effectiveness in our work is a reality."

If you are interested to learn more about the NYPA programme, click here.