An introduction to standardization on an international scale
To help make the IEC YPs (Young Professionals) feel welcome, delegates in New Delhi are encouraged to reach out, introduce themselves and welcome the newcomers to the IEC community. You’ll know the YPs by their green badge.
Reaching Generation Y
The IEC launched its Young Professionals programme four years ago to bring the next generation of experts into the world of the IEC. Already involved in standardization and conformity assessment, they are up-and-coming experts in engineering, technical or management roles. Through this programme, the Young Professionals have fast-track access to join in the work of the IEC early on in their professional lives.
It’s clear that participation of the IEC community is vital to ensure that Young Professionals continue to expand their expertise and broaden their horizons in international standardization.
Who the IEC Young Professionals are
A breakdown of the IEC Young Professionals programme participants from the last three years shows that 18% came from manufacturing, supply, retail or distribution; 16% of participants came from industry, professional, trade or consumer associations; 15% came from certification and testing; 12% were from government or public institutions and 10% came from utilities.
Thirty-eight National Committees have been represented during the first three years of the YP programme, with participants coming from all geographical regions. With 48% of participants, Europe had the highest number, followed by Asia (22%) and the Americas (17%).
Three post-workshop participant surveys and a survey of NCs represented in the programme have helped the IEC to see how the programme has been successful and also where the Young Professionals say that they need further support. The programme has been very successful: 92% of participants indicate that their expectations where fulfilled or surpassed and plan to increase their involvement in IEC work. National Committees directly benefit from sending participants to the IEC Young Professionals programme. More than half of programme participants have increased their involvement at the national level and later joined a national equivalent programme.
As far as next steps for the 2012 Young Professionals, many are keen to become further involved in the work of Technical Committees, Subcommittees and Working Groups; some are interested in developing national YP programmes; and others plan to develop their professional skills further and receive training in international standardization as experts.
The fact that the programme focuses solely on electrotechnology is seen as clear advantage. Participants particularly value the opportunity to network with peers who work in similar fields. This also increases insights and knowledge of overall industry developments and issues.
In their words
Gladys Cabrera López (Mexico) says that the IEC Young Professionals programme has been the most important professional experience in her career to date as it gave her the opportunity to obtain a new role. One of her tasks is to promote the participation of Mexican industry in all the activities related to standardization and she attends regional organizations' events, such as those of CANENA and COPANT.
Chen Shu Kai (Singapore) says that based on the insights on how International Standards are developed that he gained during the workshop, he is currently involved in a HAPUA (Head of Asean Power Utilities/Authorities) work group project to develop a generic guideline for inter-connection of distributed energy resources to the grid for ASEAN utilities.
Nipun Sibal (United Kingdom) says that he has started looking into more detail about the standards that affect the product family he manages in his business. If the competitors do not have the necessary standards, then he uses this as a unique value proposition for his products and explains the benefits to the customers.
Tools and resources
The survey also asked YP programme participants if they were satisfied with the post-workshop information and activities. The majority of YPs expressed satisfaction with the information received and activities following the workshop. Some participants requested more activities in between workshops, including web discussions and mid-year workshops. Others have asked for more opportunities to get involved in their specific technical area of interest.
In response to these suggestions, the 2011 YP Leaders have organized web discussions with the third e-Discussion held in June 2013 on the subject of Smart Grids. Several online training courses on IT tools have also been offered.
Also to help participants stay involved after the workshop ends the 2011 Young Professionals have developed mentoring programme guidelines for NCs to use on a voluntary basis and IEC Central Office has developed guidelines for NCs on how to establish national YP programmes which would support these activities. Many NCs have indicated that they have established or are planning to establish a national IEC Young Professional programme.
Call for NCs to continue Young Professionals support
The IEC General Secretary has called on all National Committees to enhance the opportunities for Young Professionals in their countries to attend technical meetings. Ninety percent of the NCs who responded to the survey have contacted their Young Professionals after the workshop, which has helped increase YP involvement in national meetings, technical work and the development of national YP programmes. Programme participants have also helped with the selection of future IEC Young Professionals at a national level.
The 2013 workshop will include an interactive session on how YPs can stay more involved with the IEC after the workshop. Under the guidance of the 2012 YP Leaders, the 2012 Young Professionals are also looking into pre- and post-workshop support.
IEC Young Professionals manual
Three-quarters of the National Committees who responded to the survey have shared the IEC Young Professionals manual with others and other NCs were planning to do so. The YP Manual was developed by the 2010 Young Professionals as a tool for newcomers, with a comprehensive overview of the IEC’s structure and operations, and tips on how to make the most of participating in the IEC community.
This year the workshop will start with a welcome gathering on the first evening, followed the next day by a plenary session with an overview and insights into the workings of the IEC. This is followed by lunch with the IEC community, observing the SMB (Standardization Management Board) meeting, and attendance at the IEC General Meeting Opening Ceremony.
On the 2nd day of the workshop the Young Professionals will attend a technical meeting of their choice, followed by lunch with the IEC community and the opportunity to observe the CAB(Conformity Assessment Board) meeting. The day winds up with a dinner for the Young Professionals.
The 3rd day of the workshop starts with a working breakfast where the YPs meet and network with their country’s NC Officers. Interactive sessions on four different subjects follow, including how YPs can become more involved with the IEC after the workshop. There is also an Open Space session, facilitated by the 2012 Young Professional Leaders and the day wraps up with an industry visit.
Whatever your role in International Standards and conformity assessment, you can help foster and encourage the IEC Young Professionals. If you are at the General Meeting, you might want to take a few minutes to share some of your experiences in electrotechnical work.
If your country is represented at the IEC Young Professionals - 2013 workshop you may like to see how you can support your country’s Young Professionals once the General Meeting has finished and everyone is back in their work environments.
If your country hasn’t yet chosen a Young Professional to participate in this valuable programme, take note for 2014! It’s well worth it.
To have more information about the IEC Young Professionals programme, see the YP section of the IEC website or contact Robert McLaren.