Findings from the inaugural young professionals workshop offer valuable insight for organizations on addressing the needs of the next-generation workforce.
Last October, ASK the Academy reported on the International Program/Project Management Committee’s (IPMC) Young Professionals Workshop, which invited more than 40 young professionals from around the world to engage in discussions about their future careers. The workshop focused the delegates on discussion topics that covered opportunities and challenges young professionals face, mentors and mentorship programs, exchanges and rotational assignments, motivating factors for young professionals, and the interface between the technical and managerial career paths.
The delegates completed their final report on the workshop. Their high-level conclusions and recommendations included:
Establish, maintain, and/or update clear pathways for communication and feedback. It has been said that information that is hard to find is information hardly found. Young professionals identified the importance of current and “findable” repositories that identify training, leadership, learning, and exchange opportunities available to them. Pathways to listen and collect young professional input regarding what motivates them and what professional development needs they have is also critical.
Provide and facilitate a variety of learning experiences. Space exploration is multi-disciplinary and collaborative. The need for young professionals to experience the culture and work of other organizations, disciplines, and generations is essential to the development of today’s young professionals into well-rounded and competent leaders for the future.
Offer alternative and/or analogue learning opportunities. Fully-fledged training and development opportunities are not always viable offerings for young professionals due to a variety of reasons (e.g., budget, travel restrictions, proprietary information restrictions, etc.). The workshop delegates encouraged the organizational practice of providing and/or being receptive to alternatives or analogue programs such as online courses, virtual forums, and short-term shadowing opportunities or rotational assignments.
Stay current and aware of best practices and trends. Young professional development is an area of interest and study to the aerospace industry and beyond. Benchmarking with other organizations or industries to share ideas and stay current on workforce trends or best practices for developing young professionals is recommended.
The report goes into greater depth the conversations of each discussion group and offers more detailed recommendations for organizations.