September 16, 2015
We had a chat with Odd-Arne Lorentsen, Core Competency Community (CCC) Leader for Catalyst Systems, in R&D and Innovation about how students working for Yara in the summer months are a good match – for both them and us!
Q: Tell us about the value you get from bringing in summer interns?
Odd-Arne: Bringing in summer students to our organization is a win-win situation for both them and us. First, we have a job to do to scope the work in a way that is manageable within 6-8 summer weeks. The students generally handle their jobs very well and often with suggestions for new approaches. During this time, we get to know them, and the student get a chance to get to know Yara in addition to earning money.
Q: How is the set-up? I understand there is a system with work-buddy?
Odd-Arne: We normally visit universities to present who we are and what we can offer early in the year. Then we publish all our summer positions on Yara’s website, upon running a screening of candidates and having the job interviews. When the students come to us they get a buddy who introduces them to the tasks and follow them up during their stay. We also have strong focus on safety and how we want them to work in our laboratories.
Q: Have there been examples where summer interns have been hired?
Odd-Arne: We think long term, and have some good examples where a student has ended up taking a master degree for us, and some have been employed afterwards. I believe this is an excellent long-term approach to screen future talents for Yara. We have also examples of people starting a PhD study for us later. Then we really start talking about long-term commitment to us.
Q: How are the students able to adapt to a business setting?
Odd-Arne: By selecting qualified buddies and by using experience and feedback from former summer students, we manage very well to tune the tasks to their level of competence. By only hiring senior students that only have 1-2 years left of their MSc degree, they already know a lot and are highly competent for the jobs. I must admit that I am positively surprised how fast they adapt to our conditions and become a part of our research teams.
Q: Where are the students coming from? Only Norwegian, or are we employing from all over Europe?
Odd-Arne: The research organization Innovation and R&D is a very international organization with more than 20 nationalities. Our employees have their networks, and we experience that our summer vacancies are distributed among our foreign colleagues’ friends and universities. Since we publish the positions on Yara’s web page, they are accessible all over the world. We seek the best talents, so in theory we hire people from all over the world that we think can do a good a job and enjoy a summer working for Yara.