Developing tomorrow's IEC leaders

IEC Young Professionals Programme workshop in Frankfurt

By Janice Blondeau

The seventh IEC Young Professionals (YP) workshop was held in October 2016, during the IEC General Meeting in Frankfurt. There were 75 YPs present from 41 countries, with each participant nominated by his or her National Committee (NC). The IEC YP Programme has more than 400 participants from 49 countries, since it kicked off in 2010.  National Committees have been great supporters of this Programme, which continues to evolve and grow.

Group photo of 2017 IEC Young Professionals Attending the 2016 workshop were 75 Young Professionals from 41 countries

Positive experience

All participants at the 2016 workshop said that they found it to be a valuable experience, and at least 72 plan to become more involved in IEC work. Some of the benefits of attending the workshop given by participants include outstanding international networking opportunities, being able to meet and interact with IEC management and NC Officers, gaining an enhanced understanding of IEC procedures and processes, and access to the inner circles of the IEC. 

YPs at the workshop also stated that it’s THE platform for people who want to advance their career in standardization and conformity assessment. Companies benefit from the workshop, which provides their staff with fast-track access to the world of standardization and boosts their personal motivation. 

Introducing the IEC

Introducing the IEC and how it works began before the workshop. Participants completed an online training course so they could make the best use of their time during interactive sessions in Frankfurt. The YPs were also asked to review and comment on a mock standard, in preparation for a technical meeting simulation session. 

The YPs were enthusiastic – their interest and motivation continued to grow as the tailor-made workshop unfolded. As part of the Programme, participants learnt more about the IEC and its standardization and conformity assessment work. They were also introduced to how the IEC approaches emerging trends and technologies, and they heard about the importance of having balanced representation in the NC structure. 

Looking to the future

Workshop participants had the choice of observing either the Standardization Management Board (SMB) or the Conformity Assessment Board (CAB) meetings, which enabled them to gain insight into how these two management meetings operate. Through observing part of a technical meeting participants also saw IEC work in action. 

In one session, the YPs were asked to give their input on the future IEC Masterplan. The ideas from the YPs have been integrated into a summary, shared with the IEC Executive Committee (ExCo) and the IEC Council Board (CB), for the development of the new Masterplan

A very popular workshop session was once again the country-tables breakfast, where YPs had the occasion to meet with the NC Officers from their country. Also an aperitif was organized for YPs to meet IEC Technical Committee (TC) and Subcommittee (SC) Officers. Four of the 2012 and 2015 elected YP Leaders participated in the workshop, leading various sessions.  Workshop participants also received extensive networking opportunities both amongst themselves as well as with the wider IEC community, and they had the opportunity to go on an industry visit to the VDE Testing and Certification Institute

Recommendations and next steps

Participants made the following recommendations during the workshop:

  • YPs can help the IEC market and technology watch activities
  • It is advantageous to include the widest variety of stakeholders in IEC work
  • IEC national YP Programmes are essential to reach out to the next generation of IEC experts and leaders
  • IEC work needs to accelerate by using modern IT tools 

The 2016 Young Professional Leaders are working closely with the Young Professionals and the IEC Central Office to develop the Programme further.  Following the Frankfurt workshop, the 2016 YP Leaders are encouraging the 2016 YPs to identify areas of IEC work where they could become more involved. 

National Committees are crucial

Recurring feedback from IEC YPs since 2010 has been that national equivalent IEC YP Programmes focused on the electrotechnical sector are key to help ensure that the IEC and its National Committees have the experts and leaders needed to address future standardization and conformity assessment challenges. Therefore it is very encouraging to note an increase in the number of NCs developing national IEC YP Programmes, with new countries developing such programmes each year. 

Introducing the 2016 Young Professional Leaders

The three 2016 Young Professional Leaders elected by the participants are:

  • Chan-keun Park, Republic of Korea
  • Alan Sellers, UK
  • Polad Zahedi, Canada

The IEC Young Professionals – 2017 workshop will be held in Vladivostok, Russia, from 9 to 11 October, in parallel with the IEC 81st General Meeting.

Group photo of 2017 IEC Young Professionals Attending the 2016 workshop were 75 Young Professionals from 41 countries
2017 Young professionals during workshop breakout session All participants at the 2016 workshop said that they found it to be a valuable experience
2017 IEC Young Professional leaders The three 2016 Young Professional Leaders elected by the participants are (left to right) Chan-keun Park of the Republic of Korea, Alan Sellers of the UK and Polad Zahedi of Canada