The EI London YPN – fully formed and in action


Courtesy of Energy Institute (EI)

The EI has an active Young Professionals Network, with a branch existing in Aberdeen for some time now, and this has recently been joined by another sub-group covering London and the south-east. The London group has already held its first event, and it has more plans in the pipeline.

Last October a group of around 90 young energy professionals, both currently in work and also studying energy, gathered next door to the Energy Institute’s (EI) London office. The reason: to hear from those working in various sectors of the energy industry about the nature of their jobs and to gain insight fromthose working in the energy industry.

The talks marked the first official meeting of the London and Home Counties EI Young Professionals Network (YPN), which was formed a few months earlier, following an event organised by the EI at University College London to get together those interested in forming such a group.

The YPN committee was formed shortly after when a collection of like-minded individuals decided to get involved and set up the group. The committee, while constantly in touch with each other electronically, works by meeting at least every quarter, and it also has sub-group meetings for event planning and sponsorship issues.

The aim of the YPN is to facilitate a network to connect enthusiastic and driven young people that work in the energy industry. It is a hub for future energy leaders and seeks to provide a platform where young professionals from diverse backgrounds can come together to learn, debate and discuss key energy issues, whilst building a strong multidisciplinary network across the energy sector. Current group members range from technical, non-technical, legal, and financial crossdiscipline backgrounds.

Where could my energy career take me?

The group’s first event, held in October and sponsored by EnergyExcel, featured three speakers from quite distinct areas of the energy industry who spoke to the group about their experiences and the nature of their jobs, going on to give advice on how to make the most out of a career in the energy industry.           

The speakers included Chartered Energy Manager Mervyn Bowden FEI, MD of Intuitive Energy Solutions. In his presentation Bowden gave an overview of why energy managers are required and their role in the energy industry. He went on to give an insight into the skills that are required for an energy manager – a job that not only requires technical ability but also effective communication skills. The presentation emphasised the wealth of opportunities available in energy management (every organisation uses energy) and Bowden argued that it should become a requirement for energy to become a mainstream subject in education.

The discussion then went on from energy demand skills to those on the energy supply side. Emily Spearman CEng MEI, Asset Manager at DONG Energy, covered her experiences through the range of roles she has held from field engineer through environmental engineering to commercial roles and then as asset manager – looking after offshore wind farms for the Danish energy company.

Spearman has spent a lot of her career moving between the environmental and energy industries and so she has a diverse background. Her talk included the key lessons she had learned: the importance of backing up your work experience with training and professional recognition; setting yourself apart from the pack; and the benefits of acquiring a mentor (or more than one).

The final speaker was William Cairns, CEO of Cairns Intersphere. His talk covered some of the projects he has been involved with as an environmental expert, then outlining the many opportunities available in the energy sector – from operations to academia and management to technical consultancy. Commercial astuteness and a high level of technical competence were brought up as requirements for the industry’s young managers.

The floor was then opened up for questions which created a lively discussion on career advice. Moving between jobs was encouraged to ensure necessary business skills are developed – the industry has moved on from the days when sticking at a single firm for one’s whole career was viewed as a norm. The benefits of international experience were emphasised, and discussions also focused on generalist and specialist roles and moving between them. There was agreement that it is easier to move from a technical role to a management role, however, caution was given about going too far into a technical role and getting stuck there – if this is not desired.

Post-event networking took place at a local bar, with all three speakers coming along to the busy pub allowing a chance for further insights to their careers and more advice. The necessity to make the most of opportunities was talked about: don’t be afraid to challenge yourself, your boss and convention and ask people you click with to be your mentor.

Future plans and getting involved

The YPN’s next event will take place on 5 February at the EI’s London office. The discussion, ‘The Chartership debate: Is it for me? Do I need it? How could it help me?’ will feature four speakers offering their thoughts on Chartership. It is free to attend. More information on the event and how to book can be found on the events section of the EI’s website. Further events, alongside separate social events, are planned for every quarter.

If you are interested in or want to get involved with the YPN, you can start by coming along to one of the events and talking to the committee. You can also follow the YPN on Twitter at @EI_YPN_LHC, connect with the Linkedin group – EI YPN London and Home Counties – or email

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