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M&E Fair - Kensington Olympia 2011

Event: Building Services Event 2011
Location: Kensington Olympia

Full as they generally are with directors, senior engineers and a bewildering array of manufacturers, specialists, contractors and other sector players, is it fair to say that trade and industry fairs are no-go areas for young engineers?  Hoping to test this theory out and in the process recruit some more members for YEN centres across the country, I, along with a number of my YEN London colleagues, made the trip to Kensington Olympia for the 2011 Building Services Event.
Armed with a social network-style flyer put together by yours truly, the second day of the event saw Amy, Karen and I pacing up and down the huge exhibition hall looking for young engineers to strike up a conversation with.  Unfortunately, our initial predictions about the event’s demographic turned out to be correct, with young engineers few and far between.  Not to be defeated, we changed our tack and engaged a number of passers-by and high ranking engineers in discussion about YEN’s identity and general benefits.
This approach yielded some good results, the old adage of any publicity being good publicity I think rang true here, and we were at least able to inform many people about YEN’s actual existence!  A personal highlight for me was attracting the attention of the Head of Station Engineering for none other than London Underground.  A wonderful person to speak to and hopes are high a CPD on engineering on the Tube will result from Karen and I chatting with such an important player.
The event itself had a myriad of things to do and see, with over 300 exhibitors and 150 hours of free professional education, seminars and CPDs: a wonderful opportunity that sadly I could not partake in as much as I would have liked given my leafleting duties and also relative junior status.  It strikes me that a young engineers’ biased building services fair would be a nice thing to attend, as many of the seminars and terminology were unknown to me and so stopped me from taking full advantage of the learning on offer.  One for the future...
Despite this, there was a lot to see and my favourite stands were iVolt who managed to bring along an electric powered Radical SR3 single seater racecar which was resplendent in orange and black.  The other end of the spectrum was provided by a pest control firm which had a beautiful Harris Hawk called Harriet ‘guarding’ its stand.  It was amazing to see the bird-of-prey sat there with its handler.  All I can say is pigeons beware!
So all in all a tiring but very rewarding six hours work which will hopefully attract some new members to CIBSE YEN and raise awareness amongst company directors and senior engineers that their promising young prospects can be part of an organisation which provides excellent training, networking and the opportunity to practice for their future role in management and committees within the building services industry.
Lastly, a massive thank you to all the following:  James Rene, David Mather, James Fisher, Amy Ramsook and Karen Settle for giving up their free time and wearing out the shoe leather whilst handing out flyers and info.  I would also like to mention the kind folk at CIBSE HQ who let us use their stand at the event and generally lent the whole YEN effort an extra dose of professionalism.  Could not have done it without you guys!