Intervision with young professionals

Ballast Nedam's young professionals are at the beginning of a challenging career in the construction industry.  But although they have plenty of substantive expertise, we have noticed that their education has often paid little attention to self-reflection. That is why we invest in intervision courses, in which the young employees further develop their soft skills.

Our young professionals go through a one-year programme, with eight online meetings. During these meetings, the participants are supervised by an external professional and they advise each other on work-related challenges.

In January 2022, six new groups of young professionals started their intervision course. These groups are small and include participants from different organisational units of Ballast Nedam.

Learning to reflect

The young professionals learn to look critically at their own pain points and habits. They also learn to ask the right questions and to show genuine interest in each other. Questions such as 'how do I plan my time efficiently' and 'how can I signal when my workload is getting too high' are put on the table during these meetings. The self-reflection leads to more qualitative discussions with their supervisors, which is good for their future careers.

"I learned how to say 'no'"

Martijn Zondag completed the intervision programme during his traineeship at Ballast Nedam Building Projects. Now that he has continued his career at Ballast Nedam, he is following an additional programme with an external coach.

"At the start of my traineeship, I noticed that I said 'yes' to everything. By the end of my week, my to-do list had only gotten longer. Of course, that was not the right approach. During the intervision meetings, I learned how to say 'no' to certain things, or how to indicate that I needed a bit more time. I'm glad I learned that, because I think I would have otherwise been caught out later in my career."

In addition to these learnings, Martijn learned to ask more questions and identify problems earlier. "I asked myself critically why I don't get some things done on time. I started to work on that, after which I started to organise and plan better. I also learned to report issues to my manager at an earlier stage. If you keep quiet, nobody will benefit, as I now know.

Together with colleagues

The intervision meetings are an excellent opportunity to learn with other young professionals about questions and problems from the work floor. In a peer learning group, they get to know each other. That can be useful for establishing a trusted network within the organisation. At the same time, the group is mixed between the organisational units in such a way that it does not get in the way of their professional work. "It is quite special to look around during such a meeting and see people with different positions or from different organisational units together," says Martijn. "I noticed that we all encounter the same problems from time to time. It is therefore very helpful that the organisation reserves time to talk about these kinds of issues and to help each other out. That made the intervision group very valuable."