Junior Day: For the first time, pharmaceutical company Heel opens its doors to employees' children

Insights into the parents’ working environment


Baden-Baden, Germany – For the first time in its company history, the manufacturer of natural medicines is organizing a “Junior Day” to give employees' children aged between eight and fifteen years an exclusive insight into the company. The highlight is a Junior Lab set up especially for the event, where the boys and girls can work together in two age groups under the supervision of Heel trainees to produce their own gummy bears and hand creams.

The focus here is on working carefully and precisely – as in the production of real medicines. The atmosphere in the Junior Lab is therefore suitably concentrated: the various ingredients for the red gummy bears have to be weighed and mixed with great precision. Pipettes are used to add cherry juice drop by drop. Then everything is stirred carefully over heat and poured into molds.

All of the children wear lab coats, hair caps and overshoes, and they disinfect their hands. The children learn that this procedure is known as "gowning", something the Heel employees always do before being allowed to enter the production rooms. After all, the production of medicines has to comply with the strictest of hygiene requirements.

While the younger children just practice "gowning " in the Junior Lab, the older children are allowed into the "real" production areas to see at close quarters how ointments, tablets, suppositories and ampoules are made and which machines help in the process. Their guided tour of the production facility lasts nearly an hour with plenty of opportunities to look over the shoulders of the employees at work.

"The Junior Day intends to give the children of our employees a chance to see where and how their parents work", explains Ralph Schmidt, Heel’s CEO; he has also come up with a special idea to show the children something of the structure and organization of a company like Heel. He uses 18 oversized jigsaw puzzle parts to introduce the children to the various parts of the company.

"Just like when baking a cake, one needs a recipe with several ingredients when manufacturing medicines. And these have to be purchased to start with", says the CEO to explain the Purchasing Department. He describes the Production, Testing, Registration, Logistics and Research business units in similarly graphic style and summarizes as follows: "All these various parts have to fit and work together perfectly like in a jigsaw puzzle. Only then can we make our medicines and bring them to the people who need them."

The aim is for the Junior Day to be held regularly in future so that it becomes an established institution.