The IEC’s next generation shines bright

Overview of the IEC Young Professionals 2014 workshop

By Janice Blondeau

A record number of participants attended the fifth IEC Young Professionals workshop held in November 2014, in conjunction with the 78th IEC General Meeting.

2014 Young Professionals Leaders IEC 2014 Young Professional Leaders: Leo Ohtsuka, Thahirah Jalal and Craig Carlson

Tokyp YP workshop round-up

Sixty-seven IEC YPs (Young Professionals) from 33 countries took part in this year’s event in Tokyo. The IEC Young Professionals programme was developed to enable the IEC and its National Committees to reach out to the younger 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.

Before the workshop

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

The group participating in this year’s workshop was enthusiastic and their interest and inspiration grew as the workshop unfolded. They heard in detail about the IEC and its standardization and conformity assessment work, discovering how the IEC approaches emerging trends and technologies and the importance of having balanced representation in the NC structure. In one session several former YPs shared their “success stories” on how they’ve increased their involvement in IEC work and advising this year’s Young Professionals on how to do so.

Insights into IEC management

At the workshop the Young Professionals had the choice to observe either the SMB (Standardization Management Board) or the CAB (Conformity Assessment Board) meeting. The day after these meetings, special sessions with officers of the SMB and CAB were organized to explain what the YPs had seen and to answer questions. Observing part of a technical meeting also gave workshop participants a taste of the IEC in action, while numerous breakout and interactive sessions provided participants the opportunity to share their thoughts and views.

Meeting with TC Chairs and Secretaries

IEC TC (Technical Committees) Chairmen/Secretaries and the Young Professionals met over a special breakfast, appreciated by both the YPs and the participating TCs. Another breakfast was held with NC representatives, to help build closer ties between the NC and their YPs.

Four elected YP Leaders from earlier years were also part of the workshop, leading various sessions. Many occasions were provided for questions and this was taken advantage of by numerous participants. They also received extensive networking opportunities both among themselves as well as with the wider IEC community and had the opportunity to go on an industry visit to one of the following companies: Sony, NTT, Sumitomo Electric Industrial and Fuji Electric.

Feedback and recommendations

Feedback from the IEC Young Professionals 2014 workshop has been positive. All participants indicated that they found the event valuable – 99% of YPs had their expectations fulfilled and 97% 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.

The 2014 Young Professionals made several recommendations to increase the success of this programme. The first recommendation is for National Committees to establish IEC national YP programmes. It was emphasized that national programmes which focus on the electrotechnical sector offer the greatest benefits to participants, particularly in terms of networking opportunities. The YPs also strongly suggested that their NCs should use them as ambassadors and involve them in national activities that they organize. Mentoring was also identified as a crucial component to help the YPs become more involved.

In their own words…

“I’m really grateful to be able to participate in the year’s IEC Young Professionals workshop. What I found extremely valuable were the many opportunities to network with IEC experts as well as other Young Professionals. I found many like-minded friends also working in the power industry, like me.”
 Zijuan Lian, Singapore

“My advice for up-and-coming Young Professionals who want to know more about the IEC and who want to get involved in its activities is come, attend with an open mind. Expect an intense time at the IEC Young Professional workshop – but a very, very worthwhile time.”
 Neil Moran, UK

2014 Young Professional Leaders

The three 2014 YP Leaders elected by workshop participants are Craig Carlson (South Africa), Thahirah Jalal (New Zealand) and Leo Ohtsuka (Japan). They will be working closely with the YPs and the IEC Central Office to develop the programme further.

We wish the 2014 Young Professionals a long and fruitful association with the IEC and its standardization and conformity assessment work.

young professionals The IEC Young Professionals programme, now in its 5th successful year, is a springboard to further IEC work
Young Professioanls workshop It provides insights into how the IEC functions and valuable networking contacts
2014 Young Professionals Leaders IEC 2014 Young Professional Leaders: Leo Ohtsuka, Thahirah Jalal and Craig Carlson