The IEC Young Professionals' Programme was set up in 2010 as a means of getting Generation Y – people now in their twenties and thirties – more closely acquainted with the life of the IEC at an early stage of their professional life.
"I'm now part of a national Technical Committee and the plan for the future is to become a member of at least one international committee."
Often the experts who participate in technical committees only do so once they have proved themselves professionally and are therefore already of mature age. The YP programme is geared towards younger professionals whose work already encompasses the use of electrotechnical standards; professionals with technical, managerial and engineering skills. By providing direct networking possibilities and the opportunity to observe technical and managerial meetings, the programme helps give participants skills that will enable them to become tomorrow's leaders in the world of standardization.
2012 YP workshop
The first gathering of YPs (Young Professionals) took place concurrently with the GM (General Meeting) in Seattle. The second was held during the October 2011 IEC GM in Melbourne. Now, the third Young Professional workshop is to be held during the first week of October 2012 in Oslo, Norway. It will coincide with the IEC GM that is taking place at the same time. The organizers expect over 1 000 electrotechnical experts to attend from many different fields and countries.
"Daniel's experiences with the IEC Young Professionals’ Programme have additionally helped other UL staff as he has become a resource expert within UL."
Each IEC member country can elect to send two – or in certain specific cases three – representatives, who have been through a selection process set up by their NC (National Committee). Their experience of standardization is varied. Some have already worked in TCs (technical committees) and have a good grasp of the overall process. They may well not have had the opportunity to meet key management, from IEC Officers to members of the SMB (Standardization Management Board) or of the CAB (Conformity Assessment Board). Others, perhaps in their daily work of testing and conformity assessment, are closely involved in using International Standards but haven't had the opportunity to experience the full meaning of consensus and see how the actual writing of standards comes about.
A unique way to experience standardization from the inside
"The most valuable outcome is changing the attitude to research and the way of organizing the standardization actives."
Partakers all say they have come away from the three-day gathering with a deeper understanding of other facets of standardization, a broadened technical expert network and the satisfaction of feeling part of a bigger world in which they have a personal role to play. Many have found it provided them with an opportunity to express their ideas not only to their peers, but also to some of the experts present, and to suggest how their knowledge in certain technical areas might be used in the context of particular technical or conformity assessment work.
Employers also derive benefits
"There is a clear need for improvement in succession planning in the standards development field and the IEC Young Professionals’ Programme is a great vehicle for this. Having staff contribute to this year’s programme is priceless. The return in investment far exceeds any associated cost."
The response from participants in the two workshops to date has been enthusiastic and positive. Their employers have underlined benefits too. Organizations have found that, by enabling their employees to take part in the Young Professionals' Programme, not only have they helped provide their staff with fast-track access to the world of standardization and boosted their personal motivation, but that the company profile has improved in the eyes of the customers and they have created the potential for making new contacts and embarking on new projects.
Information about the 2012 IEC Young Professionals workshop is available on the IEC website. Registration will remain open until the end of June.