Alterra achieved a record turnover from assignments for the private sector this year. The boom has its down sides though.
High work pressure
Kees van Diepen, chair of the works council of the ESG, has a few doubts about Alterra's success story though. He says the work pressure towards the end of the year is too high. 'Management tries to finish as many projects as possible this year. This final sprint has been imposed on the various centres. But for some staff it is just not possible to work the planned hours this year or to find colleagues who can do so. In such cases it would be much more efficient to carry the hours over to next year. You can do that very easily with external assignments. Why boost this year's results at the expense of next year's?'
Keep it up
Director De Bruin acknowledges that it is hard work. 'It is true too that people feel the pressure is on. But that pressure is always there at the end of the year. We've got the assignments, but we do have to get them done this year. So we've installed a strict regime for that.' It is not the same success story throughout Alterra. The Landscape Centre, the largest of Alterra's five centres, has had a 'tough year' according to De Bruin.
Nor will the pressure go down next year. According to De Bruin, Alterra wants to get 60 percent of its turnover from commercial clients next year. 'We have to keep it up. I have every confidence in the route we are taking. We are learning to play the market. And we have shown that we can do it.' Van Diepen's expectations are more muted. 'Making money on the market is fine. But you can see that everyone is after the same EU funds. So it will be crowded there.'