Intellect, the trade association for the IT and telecoms industries, has launched a social network for young people.
The Young Professionals' Network will "look to engage young professionals with the wider aspects of the ICT industry and offer an environment to network, socialise and share experiences," according to Intellect.
The scheme will involve a series of events where industry experts will give members advice on their career and business goals. Patrons include John Suffolk, the government's chief information officer, and Karen Price, chief executive officer of e-skills, the UK's sector skills council for IT and telecoms. The chair of the network will be IBM's business area leader, Anu Khurmi.
"It takes a lot to get ahead in today's competitive market, and young business people want to make their mark early," said Khurmi. "The network is not about targeting the 'top talent' within organisations, it is about recognising that all young professionals are important contributors to the workplace and our future. We hope it will show people who work in all sorts of areas related to technology how important they are to each other and how they can better work together."
Suffolk described the Young Professionals' Network as "an excellent opportunity to both develop their careers and see the importance of their roles within a wider context".
According to Intellect, nearly 200 people have signed up. Carrie Hartnell, programme manager for the transformational business section of Intellect, told ZDNet UK that the drive behind the scheme had come "very much from an industry perspective", and noted that many young ICT professionals "network anyway online but never get the opportunity to meet senior people".
It remains unclear how frequently the group will meet because this will depend on members' "enthusiasm", said Hartnell. Asked what the age limit for the Young Professionals' Network would be, Hartnell said that Intellect had left this unspecified due to legal considerations, adding: "Most people would consider that, if you are in senior management, you are unlikely to be a young professional."
In 2006, Intellect warned against ageism in the IT industry, claiming that both younger and older people entering the industry are facing discrimination.