Five years on…

Achievements of the IEC Young Professionals programme

By Janice Blondeau

The Tokyo IEC Young Professionals workshop marks the fifth year that this programme has introduced up-and-coming experts to the world of the IEC. In this article, e-tech looks back on what’s been achieved to date.

Participants in the IEC Young Professionals programmme... Participants in the IEC Young Professionals programmme...

Diverse backgrounds, common interests

Since the IEC Young Professionals programme started in 2010, it has welcomed 211 participants representing 40 different countries. They have come from a range of professional backgrounds including manufacturing, distribution, testing and certification; utilities; government/public institutions, as well as industry, consumer and trade associations.

A recent survey of programme participants asked whether participation had helped them either professionally or personally. All respondents agreed that the workshop was beneficial to their development, offering:

  • Networking opportunities
  • Improved credibility and visibility within their company or organization
  • Increased understanding of the importance of and involvement in IEC work
  • Greater motivation, including encouraging colleagues to apply to the programme
  • Enhanced contact with their NC (National Committees)
  • Better understanding of upcoming global trends
  • Helpful tips on interacting in a committee environment.

In their own words

“The IEC YP workshop was a crash course on IEC standardization. It saved both my organization and I a lot of time and money compared to the alternative ways of learning available.”
Stina Wallström, IEC 2013 YP from Sweden

“The IEC YP workshop is a great opportunity to meet people from the industry from all over the world, and to share international experiences and cultural aspects. It helps YPs recognize the need for International Standards and also to understand the difficulties in making Standards. The IEC YP workshop was a great benefit for my private and professional life!”
Michael Imseng, IEC 2013 YP from Switzerland

“When I started I was only working on TC 114, serving as a subject matter expert on an individual project team. Since that time and in great part due to the IEC YP programme, my role in the IEC has expanded significantly…The IEC Young Professionals programme has opened an incredible number of doors for me. I’ve become much more engaged both in my National Committee and at the IEC level.” 
Jonathan Colby, IEC 2011 Young Professional Leader from the United States*

Putting the knowledge to work

Almost half the survey respondents indicated that their participation in standardization or conformity assessment work had increased following their involvement in the YP programme. Some have become active members of IEC TCs (Technical Committees), national mirror committees or other working groups at the national level, and others are involved in the development of national IEC YP programmes. In addition, another 15% of survey participants replied that they were already quite involved with IEC work even before the workshop.

Since the participation of Young Professionals in both national and IEC activities is managed by National Committees, the support of the NC following the workshop is essential. Formal mentoring is an element that the YPs consider to be very important.

Feedback from National Committees

A recent survey was also conducted with all of the NCs who had selected Young Professionals for the IEC programme. The large majority of NCs who responded to the survey had contacted their Young Professionals following the IEC workshops. In some countries, this resulted in the YPs supporting the NC with the development of their national equivalent programme and in the selection of future IEC Young Professionals. Numerous YPs have also become more involved in IEC-related technical work following participation in the workshop.

Continually improving

Throughout this year, the 2013 Young Professionals have worked on gathering success stories from all IEC YP participants and compiling them into a newsletter which also includes articles on national IEC YP programmes. The aim of this newsletter is to inspire other YPs to become more involved.

Also in response to suggestions from NCs and the Young Professionals, the upcoming workshop in Tokyo will have a success stories session to provide participants with tools to convince their employers of the benefits of participation in IEC work. Standardization activities in new areas of technology, the importance of Standards for industry and how standards are used from a business perspective will also be covered.

One big family

The primary objective of the YP programme – to increase the participation of the younger generation of experts, managers and leaders in standardization and conformity assessment in the field of electrotechnology – is being achieved. We see that many of the participants who planned to become more involved in IEC work at the end of the workshops have done just that.

Let’s help them to continue to develop in their IEC work, and remember to make these Young Professionals welcome within the IEC Family.

Participants in the IEC Young Professionals programmme... Participants in the IEC Young Professionals programmme...
appreciate the opportunity to meet and interact with IEC leadership appreciate the opportunity to meet and interact with IEC leadership
The programme is now in its fifth successful year The programme is now in its fifth successful year