Professional Development and Networking Evening Workshop (PDNet), Manchester – September 2017

IEEE UK & Ireland Young Professionals - Professional Development & Networking Evening Report

University of Manchester - 14 Sept 2017


Professional Development & Networking Evening (PDnet) is a day program that brought together young professionals (recent university grads, post-grads and young professionals) and established professionals from a wide a range of disciplines. During the day, the young professionals received and participated in interactive professional development talks and an open-panel discussion respectively. The interactive professional development talks informed participant of personal competencies and competency development strategies, importance of understanding and managing individual personality traits, personal brand development and importance of professional registration. The open-panel development session availed the young professionals to engage experienced panellists from academia and industry on career development strategies. The evening concluded with a networking event where participants and panellist interacted and shared ideas.

The Professional Development and Networking Evening

PDnet held at the University of Manchester was the first edition in the UK. It was organised by the IEEE

UK & Ireland Young Professionals, in collaboration with the IEEE PES Student Branch Chapter at the University of Manchester on 14^th^ September 2017. Over 25 young professionals (including current postgrads students, recent graduates and young professionals) and established professionals from various academic and industry related disciplines across the UK were in attendance.

The event began with sessions of career development talks facilitated by resource persons. During these talks, participants were educated on importance of developing competencies as ones’ career transitions from one phase to the next. Participants also received advice and tips on managing their individual personality traits to achieve optimal professional progression. A talk on personal brand development and marketing emphasised the importance of building personal brands based on personal inherent strengths and motivation. Participants were also advised to work towards the convergence of how they want to be perceived by others and how other perceive them. Strategies for effective networking such as being a resource to others, staying in touch and honest intentions were also discussed. Another talk on demonstration of professionalism emphasised the importance of registering and identifying with professional bodies and associations such as the IEEE. The importance of continuous professional development during an individual’s career was also discussed. All talks proved to be very educative for participants as each talk session was interactive allowing participants to engage with the resource persons.

The second segment of the evening was an open-panel discussion with six experienced professionals from academic, entrepreneurial and industry backgrounds as panellists. This segment of the evening availed participants the opportunity to ask questions and seek clarification on professional development issues in their current careers and future professions of interest. The segment was extremely interactive and allowed young professionals to receive advice, feedbacks and views on their queries from a wide range of experienced professionals.

The evening closed with a networking segment between young professionals and experience panellists over light refreshments. The segment created an interactive environment for participants to share ideas and views and to get to know one another more.

The Role of IEEE UK and Ireland Young Professionals (YP)

The YP affinity group organised this event because developing young people’s skills and helping them make progress with their career and business ideas, with the help of events like this, is one of our priorities as a group. The PDnet Evening promotes interaction between young professionals and experienced professionals to help the younger professionals develop skills and strategies to excel in their chosen professions.

The YP continues to deliver to the community of young people with similar events, while building diverse professional networks. We are glad to make PDnet Evening happen in the UK for the first time along with our co-host, IEEE PES Student Branch Chapter at the University of Manchester. The YP’s effort was led by the vice chair, Dr Thaddeus Eze with active support from the YP UK & Ireland Midlands volunteers (Mr Keyur Joshi, Dr Hatem Abbas and Mr Opeyemi Ajibola). All four participated in the planning of the event and were also present at the event. The YP were also supported by Iván Castro León (Chair, IEEE PES UK&RI) who participated as a panellist in the open-panel discussion during PDnet Evening.

The Impact of the Event

The feedbacks from the event attendees were encouraging. Some of the participants hadn’t heard about the IEEE and the IEEE YP community before and we seized the opportunity to introduce IEEE and its benefits to a good number of them. One participant is set to register as a member and has asked for information regarding organising IEEE supported academic conferences. We believe that this event has further increased the visibility of the IEEE and the Young Professionals affinity group.

The IEEE UK&RI Section funded this event and also helped in publicising it on the Section’s website.

With events like this, we are hoping that more enthusiasts will join our team, as members and volunteers to further our goals and commitment to our members. We hope to continue PDnet in the coming years in other parts of the Section. Check here for more photos, of the PDnet Evening.

YP volunteers, from left: Mr Keyur Joshi, Dr Thaddeus Eze, Opeyemi Ajibola, Dr Hatem Abbas