One team, one goal

Motivational videos, from Deputy BCS President Alan Pollard and Chief Executive David Clarke, were amongst the highlights of this year's YPG's annual congress. A change of venue and format saw this year's congress take place at the University of Reading and made for an exciting and jam-packed weekend on 2-3 August. Max Davis reports.

YPG 2008 AGM group photo YPG representatives from 12 UK branches and members of the executive committee were welcomed by the chair, Jennifer Hewitt, who introduced the event and explained what was in store for the first two day congress.

YPG OneTeam

OneTeam is an important initiative aimed at increasing communication between reps, ultimately facilitating the development of better support and events for all YPG members. With representatives giving more of their valuable time to help the Society, much more could be covered at congress this year and the first day began with the formulation of four groups for the first of many team building exercises.

Ongoing BCS support

The importance of the YPG mission was highlighted in the keynote speeches of BCS Chief Executive David Clarke and forthcoming BCS President Alan Pollard. Although they were unable to personally attend, both David and Alan prepared highly motivational video messages outlining their plans for the future and offered much praise to all representatives of the YPG for their hard work and dedication to the Society.

Attendees were also honoured to be joined by Branches and YPG Manager, Richard French and YPG Executive, Pam Fegan, who were on hand to help with the proceedings on the first day of congress.

Vision overview

Jennifer outlined the YPG strategy for 2008/9 and beyond, beginning with the four main areas of focus for the year ahead:

  • Students;
  • Events;
  • Topical debates;
  • OneTeam.

Executive committee member Serhiy Kovela held a short workshop to discuss current plans for YPG events and to share ideas and successes between branch representatives. Some furious note-taking meant all involved left with many ideas on developing event schedules both locally and nationally.

Student membership

Committed to instilling the importance of professionalism as early as possible, YPG student ambassador, Karim Ladhu and BCS Trustee Andrew Brown engaged everyone in a breakout session designed to detail the strategic aims of the YPG regarding student membership. Representatives gave Karim and Andrew much to think about, offering many new ideas on how the BCS can support students, foster relationships and increase membership.

Letting our hair down

After a full day of team building, strategising and information sharing, representatives enjoyed the facilities on offer at the Reading University senior common room. Conversations turned to less high-brow topics as the night progressed, although great technical skill was demonstrated by the YPG executive committee's Tim Christopher in the design and execution of a YPG domino rally (viewable on the BCS YPG Facebook group).

Graduate employability

Day two was dominated by the big debate surrounding graduate employability. In a format echoing the hugely successful YPG Topical Debate series, teams initially broke out to discuss specific topics including the relevance of IT degrees in industry and the need for (and content of) 'A' levels in IT and computing.

Debates raged for much of the morning and later, teams presented their findings and discussed the outcomes together. Some fascinating insights ensued and gave everyone much to think about.

Annual awards

In recognition of his exemplary work at the University of Surrey, Chris Culnane (Guildford YPG representative) was given an outstanding achievement award. In the last year, Chris has organised a staggering 13 two hour workshops in conjunction with his local university, with topics ranging from Java mobile development and server management to Lego Mindstorms.

Max Davies gets his reward I was also given the honour of being presented with the award of 'YPG Rep of the Year 2008' in recognition of dedication to the YPG. I have helped develop a busy event schedule in my local area, attended other branches events as guest speaker and organised an affiliation with a local university student society.

In summary

All in attendance agreed that the event was a fantastic success giving branch reps and executive committee members the opportunity to interact, share ideas and develop the group.

Two days proved to be barely enough time to cover all the topics involved and built upon the huge success of previous congresses, allowing all involved to lay the foundations for a massive year ahead.

Want to get involved?

You can start by coming along to a YPG event, whether it's in your local area, or taking place at the London offices. We've also got a presence on Facebook and LinkedIn, so get in touch.

September 2008

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