The IEC next generation

Overview of the IEC Young Professionals 2015 workshop

By Janice Blondeau

Sixty-seven Young Professionals from 35 countries attended the sixth IEC Young Professionals workshop, held in Minsk in October 2015 in conjunction with the 79th IEC General Meeting. This means that more than 330 up-and-coming engineers and managers have participated in this Programme since its inception.

IEC Young Professionals, Minsk October 2015
Sixty-seven up-and-coming engineers and managers participated in the IEC 2015 YP workshop, Minsk

In their own words

“For me the most valuable thing about the Young Professionals (YP) workshop has been the networking opportunities. I’ve managed to meet my counterparts in various different countries and those are great industry contacts that I’m sure I will use in the future. We’ll be able to call on one another in our day-to-day work,” said IEC 2015 Young Professional Zoë Lincoln from South Africa.

Growing the next generation

The IEC Young Professionals Programme was developed to enable the IEC and its National Committees to reach out to the next generation of experts, managers and leaders, encouraging their long-term participation in standardization and conformity assessment activities. This in turn helps guarantee continuity of high quality leaders and experts in the IEC Family.

Before the workshop

Prior to Minsk, the participants, who were selected by their National Committees, completed an online training to be better prepared for the workshop. They also provided their individual profiles via the IEC Expert Management System and these were made available to the IEC community on the IEC website.

Insights into IEC management

Participants had the choice of observing either the Standardization Management Board (SMB) or the Conformity Assessment Board (CAB) meeting. The following day special sessions on these meetings were held with the SMB and CAB Chairs and Secretaries, to explain to the Young Professionals what they had seen and to answer questions they had.

In another session the YPs were asked to give their input on questions submitted by the Chair of the SMB. Given the quality of the feedback received, the SMB Chair has invited a representative of the IEC 2015 workshop to present a summary of the Young Professionals’ ideas at the next SMB meeting on Tuesday 23 February 2016.

Participants also experienced the IEC in action by observing part of a technical meeting. The 2015 workshop included numerous breakout and interactive sessions which gave attendees the opportunity to share their thoughts and views. The country-tables breakfast, where YPs had the occasion to meet with the NC Officers from their country, was also a success this year.

Simulation of standards development

A new session, introduced this year, consisted of a simulation of a technical meeting about a mock standard for electronic baby robots. This part of the workshop was developed by the 2014 YPs and was highly appreciated by participants.

Feedback and recommendations

Feedback from the IEC Young Professionals 2015 workshop has been positive. All participants indicated that they found the event valuable and indicated that they plan to become more involved in IEC work.  Examples of the benefits that YPs have mentioned include outstanding international networking opportunities, being able to meet and interact with IEC management and NC Officers, and enhanced understanding of IEC procedures and processes.

What next?

During the Minsk workshop, the 2015 YPs were asked to reflect on how to make the IEC YP Programme more effective. The participants stated that the workshop was excellent, but confirmed that the follow-up after the IEC General Meeting was essential for their ongoing commitment and growth in IEC work at national and international level.

The YPs recommended that National Committees seek opportunities to involve them, including, for example, by providing the opportunity to observe or participate in a national or IEC Technical Committee meeting. In this respect, the IEC offers the possibility for Young Professionals to attend up to five different IEC technical meetings of their choice in the two years following the workshop they attended, as observers, provided their National Committee and specific TC/SCs agree.

Need for national IEC Young Professional Programmes

A recurring feedback from IEC YPs has been the need to establish national IEC YP Programmes focused on the electrotechnical sector, as this offers the greatest benefits to participants, particularly in terms of networking opportunities. For support in establishing a national IEC YP Programme, please contact Robert McLaren, the IEC Young Professionals Programme Coordinator.

2015 Young Professional Leaders

The three 2015 YP Leaders elected by workshop participants are Fatima Al Khoori, United Arab Emirates; Roberto Fernandez, UK; and Ricardo Luis Nava Garibay, Mexico.  They will be working closely with the YPs and the IEC Central Office to develop the programme further.

We wish the 2015 Young Professionals a long and fruitful association with the IEC and its standardization and conformity assessment work.

IEC Young Professionals, Minsk October 2015 Sixty-seven up-and-coming engineers and managers participated in the IEC 2015 YP workshop, Minsk
YP workshop Minsk Networking and valuable insights into how the IEC works are among benefits cited by participants
YP workshop Minsk, open space session Best practice and creative, innovative solutions were shared during the workshop