From Pioneer to Placement Host

Jurijs Kondratenko´s connection to Pioneers began in 2016 when he was a speaker at Climathon. Following that year, Jurijs became a Pioneer in 2017 and a host last year: “I had a wonderful experience taking part as a Pioneer and I thought why not become a host? I brought the idea to my firm, agreed to try it, and since then, Grupa 93 has been hosting Pioneers for two consecutive years.”

An Economist and Sustainability expert at Grupa 93, Jurijs has been the program manager and worked directly with the Pioneers placed at his firm. They prepare and adapt activities to Pioneers to give them the best experience, for example before the Pioneers start, Jurijs pre-plans several activities and tasks for them. However, they are flexible and adaptive to the interests and skills of the Pioneers they host. “I find this as the best approach because the Pioneers then get to fully maximize their potential, use their skills while also learning new ones based on their interests,” Jurijs said. The atmosphere at G93 is also very collaborative, and less of a top-bottom down approach. G93 considers Pioneers as part of the firm’s team during the placement, work alongside other professionals in the firm. Jurijs found this to be critical to how the Pioneers approach their work.

Grupa 93 is a Latvian consultancy firm in urban planning and regional development and involved in several hands-on projects which allows Pioneers to use their technical skills while learning new ones. For instance, last year’s Pioneers were involved in planning multi-model sustainable mobility hubs in Riga and bringing together all forms of transportation. The Pioneers helped to carry out a best-case research on international experience (Germany, Netherlands and Belgium), conceptualizing what mobility types could work in Riga, and finally pre-designing of a specific mobility point in a specific location before conducting a GIS analysis.

I applaud the program for the successful match of our Pioneers. They were already professionals possessing technical and analytical skills useful in their work. They brought in their outlook and international experience from their home countries.

At G93, they considered themselves as opinion leaders in urban planning and sustainable mobility in Latvia and they develop sustainable solutions to urban mobility—a process that is not always easy or welcomed in the country. Jurijs hopes that the conversations on urban mobility and transport can shift from political to effective action.

As a Pioneer alumnus himself, Jurijs wishes to see EIT Climate-KIC working on outreach more and advertising the programmed both online and on social media to draw in more people to it. This will not only raise awareness of the program but diversify and enrich the placements.