Conferences and Workshops : Open letter to Senior Engineers and Technologists by Isqil Najim

To our highly esteemed senior Engineers,

Have you ever imagined: what if the solution to problems of this country is in the mind of a young person who cannot afford it? What if the key to improving your company’s productivity, or injecting new innovation into your operations is in the mind of someone (a staff, mentee) who just needed inspiration from a conference or knowledge at a Workshop? As experienced professionals, many of us have attended the professional gatherings, conferences, workshops, seminars or meetings where our brains discovered or perfect an idea. The high profile ones are not free, and not cheap either.

There are many such gatherings (Workshops, Seminars, conferences) organized by various associations and professional bodies. COREN Assembly is one of them.  Another is NSE International Conference while many Divisions of NSE also have many such events. This is not to mention those that are undertaken abroad. COREN Assembly is around the corner. It is the largest Assembly of #Engineering personnel in the country. #Engineers, #Technologists, #Technicians and #business owners will converge together.

Ideally, it is an event everyone must look forward to. But many want to attend but could not make it for financial reasons. It is for this reason that I am directing this message at you, our dear senior Engineers.

Whether you have your own company or working for others; Whether you are a member of a professional body or not. While many of you can conveniently take care of professional development, I believe that you can also spread the love to others, particularly younger ones. There is no need  explaining much the importance of attending such conferences here. Many have been written on the subject. In same way I have written on the benefits of attending professional gathering to Young Professionals.

Here is what you can do:
1. You can sponsor a qualified Engineering professional in your organisation to attend. Even if you do not own the company.
2. If you are not personally attending but can Sponsor yourself, you can donate this money to a willing Engineer/technologist/technician who wishes to attend but could not raise the fund.
3. As an employer, you can also support your staff to attend. At least one Engineer in your organisation can benefit. He will return with the knowledge he gains and impacts on his colleagues and the organisation
4 And if you cannot sponsor them but they work in your company. How about encouraging them to attend if someone outside your company sponsors them?

How can you go about it?
1. Reach out to a Branch of NSE or NATE or NISET and indicate interest in sponsoring someone willing to attend. The Branches have a database and can also inform their members of available opportunities.
2. Reach out to the Division of NSE such as NIEEE, NIMechE, NSChE etc through their National Chairman or Chapter Chairmen.
3. Confirm the beneficiaries after being matched through the above-mentioned.
4. If you are satisfied, Make all necessary preparations to ensure he or she register before the event.
5. As an individual, you can also do this without going through any of the above. Check your list of “friends” on social media, your alumni network or your neighbourhood. There will be at least one serious young professional who doesn’t have the means to attend but will love to attend. He may be your mentee, he can be just that person who is quiet and barely talks; he can be your neighbour. Identify one in your way and lend a hand.

Doing this will go a long way, in not only helping others benefit from attending but serves as a motivation for these young people to give back when they are financially better. You can imagine the long-term effect if this culture becomes a norm in our society.

Let’s join hands and spread this message. As Matshona Dhliwayo once said, “Be a star in someone’s dark sky.”

My name is Isqil Najim, Follow me on twitter @isqilnajm

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