Growing our next generation

IEC Young Professionals Workshop 2012 in Oslo

By Janice Blondeau

As part of IEC's focus on broadening its base of professional experts and increasing awareness of its work, close to 60 representatives from 30 National Committees came together to share experiences, network and learn more about the world of international standardization at the successful IEC Young Professionals workshop in Oslo.

Plenaries combined with break-out sessions, attendance at SMB, CAB and TC meetings and networking Plenaries combined with break-out sessions, attendance at SMB, CAB and TC meetings and networking

Building on the success of previous years

The IEC Young Professional Programme and its annual workshop recognize that the globalization of markets and converging technologies require that tomorrow’s leaders become more aware of the strategic importance of standards. The workshop, held during the IEC General Meeting, built on the success of similar events held in Seattle in 2010 and Melbourne in 2011. There were some familiar faces amongst attendees with Young Professional leaders from previous years sharing their experiences. The 2012 Young Professionals Programme workshop kicked off with a welcome reception on Sunday 30 September. On Monday 1 October, IEC President Klaus Wucherer officially opened the event before IEC General Secretary Frans Vreeswijk welcomed participants during the plenary session.

Sharing insights, seeing IEC at work

Over three days, attendees were introduced to the many facets of IEC's work in international standards and conformity assessment from key IEC Officers, staff members and other high-level speakers. They took advantage of the opportunity to observe the SMB (Standardization Management Board) and CAB (Conformity Assessment Board) meetings, as well attending a technical meeting of their choice and taking part in breakout sessions. A breakfast session saw the Young Professionals meeting with their respective National Committee President and Secretary. A Q&A session gave the opportunity to ask questions of Technical Officers, while two lunch sessions with SMB members and CAB members provided an avenue for informal sharing of professional experiences and useful networking opportunities.

Two sessions were dedicated to the break-outs which looked at the strategic importance of the IEC's work, how the IEC can communicate more widely about new technical work, best practice in national Young Professional programmes and next steps for the IEC YP programme.

On Wednesday morning the Young Professionals had the opportunity to attend interactive sessions on IEC IT Tools, the standards development process, IECEx and preparing to participate in a technical meeting. This was followed by an Open Space session, where participants raised and discussed topical issues of their choice. The afternoon was dedicated to an industry visit to DNV, where the CEO and other company representatives shared their experiences of the benefits that being active in international standardization brings to the bottom line of a company.

In their words...

Feedback from the workshop showed that all participants said they found the Young Professionals Programme experience valuable, 91% said their expectations were fulfilled and almost 90% said they planned to become more involved in the IEC. Many found the time spent with IEC leaders and the opportunity to meet and share with their peers to be very valuable. In the words of one participant, "it's hard to believe that programme is only three years old, as so much has already been achieved and it seems so mature."

"Being able to sit in at the SMB and CB meetings and also getting to sit in at the TC level, was a great insight. This provided a holistic view from the technical side all the way through to the management side of standards, and that was a good opportunity. Having lunch with the SMB and CAB members was great – we sat down at the table and could ask them about their backgrounds and how they came to the IEC."

Manyphay Souvannarath, United States

“One of the biggest pleasures I had was meeting Young Professionals from other countries and knowing that I’m not the only one who shares that passion. There are quite a few who share the same passion.”
Chetan Ratna, Kenya

"The workshop is a great way of getting an introduction to the IEC work, meet with top management and decision makers in the IEC, as well as networking with colleagues from all over the world."

Tore Langeland, Norway

“It’s been well organized, intellectually stimulating, a challenge from a technical perspective – there is nothing that I’d like to change. It’s been a wonderful experience.”

Michael Grant, South Africa

2012 leaders announced

A key feature of the Young Professionals Programme are the leaders, who act as ambassadors for the programme within the IEC family and help to shape the activities while they are leaders. The workshop saw the election of the three new leaders for 2012 who are:

  • Mr Frens J. Rumph from the Netherlands
  • Ms Manyphay Souvannarath from the United States
  • Ms Marie Caroline Ehrhard from France

IEC wishes the three new leaders every success. You can read interviews with them in e-tech in the first quarter of 2013.

Motivated for a future in standardization

The IEC Young Professionals workshop provided participants with an overview of the importance of active involvement in technical work and the development of standards. Participants expressed their views that work in international standardization and conformity assessment is a key part of career development and that their employers can greatly benefit from their involvement. Workshop attendees came from all corners of the globe and had a wide variety of backgrounds. Many participants are actively involved in TCs, NCs, or are helping to develop similar programmes for the next generation of standardization professionals in their own countries. For some others, the workshop provided an excellent introduction to IEC, to the work of standardization and it showed in concrete ways how they may become further involved.

Calling Young Professionals for New Delhi 2013

The next IEC Young Professionals workshop is due to take place at the IEC General Meeting in New Delhi, India in October 2013. National Committees are invited to nominate representatives to attend. Potential participants are encouraged to contact their NCs for further details.

For more information about the IEC Young Professionals Programme, please

Plenaries combined with break-out sessions, attendance at SMB, CAB and TC meetings and networking Plenaries combined with break-out sessions, attendance at SMB, CAB and TC meetings and networking
Over three days, attendees gained an insight into IEC's work in International Standards Over three days, attendees gained an insight into IEC's work in International Standards
Lord Kelvin Award Laureate Friedrich Harless Thirty National Committees were represented by almost 60 delegates at the Oslo workshop