The London Section’s Emerging Leaders Program (ELP) is proactively working to bridge the gap among students, recent graduates, and industry senior management. Most of the effort is being done through presentations, seminars, and especially the new Champions program.
The program was envisaged by 2005 SPE President Giovanni Paccaloni as a way to address the particular concerns and needs of students. An important part of this initiative will be to introduce the ELP to students so they will know that after they graduate they will find support from SPE in making the transition from university to professional life.
The first Champions meeting in the U.K. was held in March. Young professionals in the ELP are committed to communicating their knowledge and personal experiences to the students and graduates. The pro- gram included talks and advice on how to “pass” assessment centers, life abroad, what it is like to be on site, how ELP members have benefited from SPE, the importance of creating a diverse network that is multidisciplinary and multicultural, how to write an SPE paper, and experiences making presentations in large conferences.
Students say they feel slightly isolated from the real world. They get the same standard presentations from companies, and advice from most senior professionals is not always applicable to their situation. Students need the view of the commercial world from people who have been in the same kind of situation recently. They need the personal support of young professionals who fully understand their concerns and needs, not just a corporate statement that in many cases does not represent the real facts.
The meeting was successful, with participants receiving a variety of information from different angles in an effective, honest, and informal manner.
The ELP in London will continue supporting this initiative and plans to visit with members of the SPE student chapter at Imperial College and at other universities in London that are considering starting chapters. Additionally, the ELP will extend the program to other universities, particularly those offering engineering degrees, to make sure it is making a significant contribution to issues facing the industry.