In 2021, NIRAS acquired the company AlfaNordic A/S, a consultancy that exclusively supported companies within the pharma/life science area. Today, the former AlfaNordic A/S is fully integrated into NIRAS as part of Process Industry.
The idea of a graduate programme arose in 2015 under the auspices of AlfaNordic A/S based on the fact that the life science industry and the associated consulting industry on the one hand lacked new, young talent and on the other hand found it difficult to recruit new graduates into an industry that traditionally hire people with years of experience
The young graduates had no experience in solving industry-specific tasks and at the same time they were not used to manage themselves in a workplace. On the other hand, they contributed with new knowledge and a lot of courage.
However, AlfaNordic A/S were not the only ones to discover this dilemma. The government had set up a growth team with the former Lundbeck CEO, Kåre Schultz as a chairman. The team had been requested to make proposals which could strengthen the Danish Life Science industry - one of the growth team's recommendations was precisely:
Recommendation 8: The Danish education system must be organised so that it is to a greater extent able to deliver world-class employees with the right skills for the entire value chain in the Danish Life Science industry.
With this statement in mind, the idea arose for a graduate programme that could build a bridge between the academic institutions and the Life Science industry. The very first team was recruited in 2016 and the programme has been continuously developed in collaboration with the universities, the business community and last but not least on the basis of feedback from the participating graduates.
The young graduates were professionally prepared with knowledge within GMP, Good Manufacturing Practice. But it was also important for us to give the graduates a mental foundation and therefore mentors and business coaches were also assigned to the programme.
In 2016, AlfaNordic A/S received the Initiative Award of Danish Industry for this particular training initiative for the industry. Today, we consider the programme as the fast track for newly graduated academics to a career in the business community, as the young people gain experience and personal development during the 2-year programme that under normal circumstances might take up to five years to obtain.
Our experience is that the graduates subsequently get responsible positions, such as project managers or team leaders, which young people are not usually considered for so early in their careers.