Expanding Horizons – How the Next Generation Program is an Opportunity For All
Intrum’s Next Generation Program gives young professionals the opportunity to live and work abroad, forming international networks that will serve them throughout their careers. Here, we talk to program sponsors Per Christofferson and Anette Willumsen about why they feel passionately about the benefits of the scheme.
Intrum’s Next Generation Program is a critical path for finding new managerial and analytical talent. Now in its sixth generation, the program has established a pipeline of future leaders and analytical experts, offering a comprehensive program of international experience and personal development.
“In setting up the scheme, we wanted to promote Intrum with universities in various countries, building a future flow of young professionals who can take on managerial and other expert roles at Intrum," says Per Christofferson, program sponsor and Intrum’s Managing Director Secured Assets, M&A and Markets.
“From our point of view, it is fantastic to see these young professionals joining the business. We are benefiting from the latest research and their innovative thinking.”
Compared to going into a set role, the platform they get as a candidate to learn the business globally and fast track is an excellent opportunity.Anette Willumsen
Sharing knowledge internationally
Anette Willumsen, Managing Director, CMS Sales & Service Development and Markets, is another of the program’s high-level sponsors. “The Next Generation Program is so important for us when it comes to attracting new talent,” she says. “To have that opportunity is a great start to their careers.”
The trainees are given a unique opportunity to experience a global organisation, learning in their home country, travelling abroad to work on a project and then returning to lead a project and share the knowledge they have gained.
This sharing of experience and best practice is one of the key benefits for individuals and the business. “Compared to going into a set role, the platform they get as a candidate to learn the business globally and fast track is an excellent opportunity. It really gives them a flying start,” she adds.
Per agrees that this is one of the scheme’s key attributes. “Even though Intrum is one company, it is made up of different cultures and geographies and that is important to understand and experience.”
Forming a network
The Next Generation Program puts candidates in touch with people at all levels of the business and it is this broad network that is an enduring benefit. As well as forming connections in their own country, trainees are able to build their network among their wider peer group, the NGP alumni and in the offices they travel to for part of the program.
Both Anette and Per have experience of similar schemes in their own careers, something that makes them both passionate about the potential benefits. “Twenty-five years later, I still have regular contact with my network from that program,” says Per, while Anette sees the experience as a “bridge between studying and being an employee”.
As sponsors, they have taken part in selecting and mentoring past candidates as well as travelling to NGP events to get to know trainees. This summer they will take part in the first NGP Alumni event in Malaga.
“I’m a strong believer in the importance of people in our organisation. Following the trainees’ development gives me a lot of personal and professional joy,” says Anette.
It has been a fantastic journey to be part of building up the scheme. It is always challenging and interesting to learn from the candidates and see how they think about things.Per Christofferson
As well as the candidates learning and developing in their careers, the sponsors and Intrum teams around them benefit from new ways of thinking.
“It has been a fantastic journey to be part of building up the scheme. It is always challenging and interesting to learn from the candidates and see how they think about things,” says Per.
He adds that becoming a mentor for a trainee or looking after one of the trainees when they travel abroad is an excellent opportunity for people in the business. As well as learning new perspectives, the trainee can be an ambassador for the project they have joined abroad, taking that experience back to their original office.
Planning for the future
The program thrives as more and more generations of trainees go through the scheme and work in the business.
“I am acutely aware of the value of this in the long-term. When we have generation after generation coming through, the benefits are even greater,” says Per. “It needs to achieve the kind of maturity where we have several of these young professionals in management positions and they continue to promote the program.”
Anette adds that as Intrum undergoes transition to a truly global way of working, the program only becomes more relevant. “The demand for young global talent is going to be even more important now.”
The kinds of candidate the business looks for could broaden and change depending on the needs at a particular time. “For example, the IT industry is one in which there is fierce competition for talent.”
Ultimately, the scheme has been very successful in placing and retaining candidates in permanent roles, but even when individuals move on, it is positive for Intrum.
“Even if trainees leave us, they are ambassadors for Intrum,” says Per. “They could be our clients in the future or come back to work at Intrum later on.”