We are thrilled to announce the successful launch of the Institute of Concrete Technology's Students and Young Professionals Network (SYPro) at the Hinxton Conference Hall on 26 April 2023. The meeting was attended by esteemed individuals, including ICT past presidents, ICT committee members, international representatives of the ICT, and enthusiastic students and young professionals who marked the beginning of an exciting journey for this dynamic network. With an inspiring vision and mission, SYPro aims to promote ICT through young members interested in concrete technology as an engineering discipline, empowering the next generation of professionals in this field.
The launch event commenced with a warm welcome from the ICT President, Prof Muhammed Basheer. He shared a brief history of the network's inception, highlighting its importance in nurturing young talents and providing access to a supportive community of peers within the concrete industry. Basheer then introduced Harshita Garg, the lead for SYPro, who guided the network towards its envisioned success. The incoming President of the ICT, Colin Nessfield, also took the stage and shared his enthusiasm and support for SYPro's initiatives. Rob Lewis, a past president of the ICT was invited to address the audience. He expressed his unwavering support for SYPro and shared his valuable experiences of attending the ACI's events for Young Members. Lewis highlighted the tremendous benefits that students and young professionals can gain through such networks, emphasising the value of peer support and continuous professional development opportunities.
Harshita Garg, the lead for SYPro, took the stage and captivated the audience with an overview of the network's mission to develop and grow SYPro within ICT, providing professional identity, peer support, CPD opportunities and a voice in the running of the institute and highlighted long term strategic goals of the Network. Further, Garg proposed various ideas to enrich the experiences of SYPro members, including site visits to construction sites and precast factories, organising technical sessions with industry experts, competitions to foster innovation, networking events to build connections and a mentorship program to guide students and young professionals in their career journeys. These initiatives aim to create a vibrant and supportive ecosystem for the growth and success of the network's members, while ICT benefits from the fresh perspectives and innovative ideas of young professionals.
Following the presentation, the audience actively participated in the open discussion, sharing their thoughts and ideas to enrich the network's future activities. The event was concluded with gratitude to everyone for attending the launch and their invaluable contributions. The participants then continued the conversations over drinks and dinner at the Red Lion Hotel, creating lasting connections and fostering a sense of belonging within the concrete industry.
At ACI International Forum, Prof Basheer gave a presentation on ICT, whereas HG focused on ICT- Student and Young Professionals Network. Before the start of the forum, HG had the chance to meet ACI President Charles Nmai and ACI Director of International Business Development Bernie Pekor. HG informed them about launching the ICT-SYPro in the April ICT convention, and we aim to liaison with the ACI student leadership council and ACI young professionals activities committee. They were glad to hear about our initiative and look forward to our collaboration.
Further, HG attended the S805 Student leadership council meeting, S806 Young Professionals Activities Meeting and Student & Young Professionals Activities Committee meeting. It was great to see how they are coming up with ideas to have fun competitions for students, engaging YPs to moderate sessions, participate in the committee meetings and encouraging them to speak on the "Engineering Greatness" podcast, where they talk about what got them started in civil engineering, how to choose the right specialisation, their passion for the profession, work-life balance and the importance of being involved in such organisations. Such things give a feeling that they are part of something bigger than themselves and are making a difference in the world. It was also commendable to see how they have an auction and use the money to fund students to attend the ACI convention. These experiences at ACI have encouraged me to do something for students and young professionals of ICT.
I also had a conversation with Andres Matos Ortiz and Megan Huberty (Young Professionals Representatives), David Orense (Student Representative) and Kanette Worlds (Students and Young Professionals Activities Coordinator) about collaborating with ICT- SYPro. We need to put forward ideas on how ICT and ACI can work together, how both organisations and its members can benefit from the collaboration, what virtual events can be planned, how ICT members can attend ACI conferences, apply for travel funds or participate in competitions and vice versa. Kanette Worlds agreed that once we have the SYPro committee set up and have defined our plan of action, we can have a virtual meeting with ACI coordinators.
In addition, HG also attended the Students Bowling competition, where teams of undergraduate/graduate students from different universities participated, and the team with the maximum strikes won. It was fun to watch that. Finally, HG attended the Poster Competition, Students and Young Professional networking event, Women in ACI Reception and the concrete mixer, which were the main highlights. All these networking events provided a chance to have fun, socialise with your peers and network with them.