IET Solent Network Young Professionals team leader Joe Dunn talks about the team and what it offers students at Southampton, Portsmouth and beyond…
For a number of years the IET Solent Network has been proactively working with Young Professionals (YPs) and the three local universities in the area: the University of Portsmouth, the University of Southampton and Southampton Solent University.
YPs are students in further education and professionals in the early stages of their career, up to ten years after graduation, and represent the future of the IET and the engineering industry. The Solent Network YP team was established to ensure that the YPs in the area receive careers advice, site visits, workshops, competitions and lectures of interest and relevance from the IET.
All three universities are participating in the IET Academic Partners scheme, so each annual intake of students on qualifying courses is offered IET student membership funded by their university. To help retain membership after graduation, the new central IET Advantage programme has been set up.
Three IET on campus teams have been created as a result of collaborations between the Local Network (LN) and the Academic Partner points of contact at each university. These teams vary in size and all team members are current students.
Throughout each year the Solent Network YP team works with the IET on campus teams, organising and promoting events of interest to the students at each of the universities. The teams act as the voice of the students to the Solent Network and vice versa. They are also invaluable for advertising events, booking rooms, organising refreshments and representing the IET at promotional events such as the university fairs during fresher’s week.
Working with three universities poses a number of challenges. The three student populations are very different in their interests, skill sets, demographics and desired topics with different ratios of full-time to part-time students. Each university has its own timetables so the dates and times for each event need to be carefully planned with each IET on campus team to avoid sports afternoons, university holidays, examination periods and coursework deadlines.
These challenges can only be overcome through close communication with the teams.
By working with the universities it has been possible to define three types of YP event in the LN:
All event types are free to attend and IET membership is not required. With this structure it is possible to plan and tailor more events in a programme than would be possible if every event were run as a public LN funded event.
Events organised by the IET Solent Network YP team each year include:
Previous interactive workshops have included a wireless network vulnerability workshop and a mock graduate assessment centre. A Raspberry Pi programming workshop is planned for this year.
Information on events can be found on the IET Solent network's community page.
Looking to the future, the IET Solent Network YP team intends to:
If you are interested in helping to shape this future, or for more information, please visit the IET Solent network community page or contact Joe via email