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Van Iterson Institute: A diamond in the rough





In June 2022, Bilfinger will reach what I consider a very memorable moment. The first class will be given as part of our ‘Van Iterson Institute’. A new way in which we can better train our young consultants and have them develop faster into independent industrial consultants.

When, almost a year ago, we discussed the first elaborated mind map within our Management Team, a feeling came over us: we might have something really beautiful in our hands. What that beauty was exactly, was difficult to put into words at that moment.

A better and more efficient way of training

For me personally, one of the first beautiful facets was the fact that with the institute we would have the opportunity to guide starts in a good way with the first steps of their career. Being able to contribute to the development of industry, the reason for founding in 1945, is only possible if you significantly contribute to the development of the people working in or for that industry. As we moved forward with the development of the institute, other facets became apparent. For example, not only is young talent going to benefit from the institute, but also we as an organization are reaping the benefits ourselves. We have always invested a lot in training our people, but with the institute we can do it much better and more efficiently.

Our own consultants as teachers

One facet that has not caught my eye for a long time, but has always been ingrained in the idea, is the fact that the institute offers a large number of our experienced consultants the opportunity to do what is a core driver of a consultant: extensively share and transfer knowledge to others. I myself have the pleasure of providing a number of teaching blocks, but the bulk is carried out and provided by others from our consultancy corps. One of them is Michiel van der Meer, Consultants Environmental Management and Water specialist, who, like myself, is very passionate about training juniors well:

“Knowledge transfer is the most important weapon for effective growth, on a personal level but also as an organization. Learning from and with each other is an important driver for me. In addition to growth in terms of content, the development of competencies and the transfer of practical experience is important at the Van Iterson Institute. From my role as a consultant, I see the securing of our extensive knowledge and expertise within the organization as a mechanism to distinguish ourselves and remain distinctive. Together with my colleagues at the institute, I would like to contribute to ensuring a sustainable and future-proof working environment. In addition, giving training is just plain fun to do and I try to pass on my enthusiasm for this great profession. The Van Iterson Institute offers a unique opportunity to transfer knowledge and competences as a teacher and I am convinced that for the students it will provide an attractive and broad development path. In addition, the Van Iterson Institute fully fits in with the strong developments within the industry and increasing sustainability issues that we are facing today. Sustainability is (among other things) taking care of the generations after us, also in the workplace,” says Michiel.

Ready to go

Last year we found a rough diamond. We had a feeling that it could become something beautiful, and decided to start working on it. During the cutting process, we found and created more and more facets that contribute to the brilliance of the whole. And in June 2022, we will wear our cut gem in public for the first time.

In the Middle Ages, people believed that diamonds were a symbol of strength, courage and invulnerability. The Van Iterson Institute embodies those qualities in our company. It show the strength of our organization to take an idea and bring it to fruition. It shows the courage of our company and our management to do something that others are not doing. While it is difficult, demanding and the final outcome is not certain, we do it. Because it is the right thing to do. Because it is necessary. It also shows our invulnerability, by capturing our knowledge, skills and abilities, and how we can pass them to the next generation.

On Friday, June 3rd, 2022, I get to kick off the first block of classes at our Van Iterson Institute. Full of pride in what we have achieved as a company and full of excitement about how it will be received by the world. Full of hope that in a few years’ time the same words will be spoken about our institute as were occasionally heard in the corridors of the Polytechnic School in Delft at the end of the 19th century:



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