Ooh, the anticipation. For what, you say? Well, the Energy Institute reached the grand old age of 100 this year, popping a champagne cork on a centenary of energy professionalism.
Its annual awards took place amid the celebrations and to recognise the contribution of young professionals to drive progress, innovation and excellence, a new category of Young Energy Professional of the Year was introduced.
It was a very exciting night from start to end. The huge art deco room in the Sheraton Park Lane was full to the brim of energy (excuse the pun). Hosted by BBC news presenter Huw Edwards, the young professional award followed nine other categories and was the last to be announced.
The shortlisted candidates for this category were judged on their responses to the question: What do you feel is the biggest challenge facing the energy industry over the next 20 years and what has been your personal contribution?
A Professional energy makeover
A month before the awards, I was delighted to hear I had made the shortlist and would have the opportunity to present my response gap to 15 industry expert judges. I talked about the lack of awareness of energy careers from a young age, the ageing energy management population and the need to give the sector a professional makeover.
Using my STEM Ambassador outreach experiences with schools and universities, I explained that we as energy professionals have a duty to inspire and nurture the next generation of energy specialists.
The night before the awards the three other shortlisted candidates and I presented our entries at an Energy Institute’s Young Professionals Network event. It was great to hear the others take on future energy challenges, topics included electrifying Africa, the supply vs. demand gap and empowering the community to address the energy trilemma of social inequality, environmental degradation and energy security.
And the winner is
Sponsored by Aramco Overseas, the first ever Young Energy Professional of the Year was announced and as the envelope was slowly unsealed the anticipation mounted. Next came the words I’d been waiting all night for: “And the winner is… Jaz Rabadia.”
As I made my way to the stage, nervous and excited all at once, I celebrated the only way I know how…. taking a selfie on stage with Huw himself!
The Energy Institute have been incredibly supportive of my career progression to date and it is great to see they are formally recognising the contribution young energy professionals are making to the sector. After all, today’s young energy professionals are tomorrow’s energy leaders.