Young Professionals urge the next generation to share their vision for infrastructure

Published: 26 Apr 2019


Members of the first tranche of the Young Professionals Panel

The National Infrastructure Commission’s Young Professionals Panel (YPP) today invite young people to share their vision for the future of infrastructure in the UK, as they mark one year on from their establishment.

Having pledged to ensure the next generation have a strong voice in infrastructure decision-making, the Panel are launching an initiative which will give young people the chance to do just that.

In March, the Young Professionals announced that they are conducting research on how generational shifts are altering the demands on the UK’s infrastructure network, focusing on the trends associated with people born between 1981 and 2012 – those classed as Millennials and Generation Z.

To gather evidence for the project, they are calling on younger generations to tell them how infrastructure could work better for them – whether it’s the transport they use to get around, the mobile and broadband technologies that keep them connected or the way electricity is generated to their homes.

One of the ways those interested can get involved is by attending a series of ‘Infra-cafés,’ which will be free informal events held around the UK to get the conversation about infrastructure going.

With each focusing on a different theme, the Infra-cafés will feature a panel discussion with leading experts, as well as interactive sessions.

The Panel hopes to attract a diverse range of views, so the events will be aimed at early career professionals working in the sector, as well as young people who want to share their personal experiences of how infrastructure affects their daily lives.

The first Infra-café will be held in London on Thursday 11 July, focussing on recycling and circular economy, with plans for further events – including ones in Cardiff, Nottingham and Newcastle – to be announced in the coming months.

To coincide with their first birthday, the Young Professionals have also released the second episode of their new podcast, Infra[un]structured, which explores how open city data and visualisation can be used to understand the science and culture of cities.

Rosie Hughes, Member of the Young Professionals Panel, said:

“We’re delighted to be celebrating our first birthday and this feels like the perfect time to unveil our programme of Infra-cafés.

“We’ve got some brilliant speakers in the pipeline and we’re looking forward to our generation setting out their vision for the future of infrastructure.”

Phil Graham, Chief Executive of the National Infrastructure Commission, said:

“We set up the Young Professionals Panel to help the Commission think outside the box and the ideas they’ve developed to inform their research show they’re doing just that.

“I hope young people from all over the country will seize this opportunity and help us better understand their perspectives on what infrastructure needs to deliver for them.”

Young Professionals Panel

Launched in April 2018, the Young Professionals Panel comprises 16 talented individuals in the early years of their infrastructure careers, who faced tough competition from 500 other applicants to be selected.

Spanning a wide range of backgrounds, professions and regions, the Young Professionals support and inform the Commission’s work.

The members of the Panel are:

  • Matthew Ball – Manager, Ofgem – based in London
  • John Bradburn – Senior Consultant, Atkins – based in Manchester
  • Alison Caldwell – Principal Engineer, WSP – based in Birmingham
  • Joshua Dickerson – Associate, Deetu – based in Nottingham
  • Victor Frebault, Consultant, Arup – based in London
  • Laura Hawkins – Project Lead, Innovation, UK Power Networks – based in Reading
  • Jennifer Holgate – Managing Associate, Womble Bond Dickinson – based in Bristol
  • Dr Rosie Hughes, Innovation & Continuous Improvement Lead (Strategic Highways Europe), AECOM – based in Derby
  • Annette Jezierska, Co-Founder, The Future Fox – based in London
  • Madeleine Kessler, Project Architect, Haptic Architects – based in London
  • Petra Marko, Co-Founder, Marko & Placemakers – based in London
  • Henry Metcalf, Graduate Engineer, Peter Brett Associates – based in London
  • Charlotte Mitchell, Associate, Quod – based in London
  • Christian O’Brien, Engineer, Dandara – based in Southampton
  • Martin Plant, Associate, McKinsey – based in Surrey
  • Sakthy Selvakumaran, Civil Engineer/PhD Researcher, University of Cambridge – based in Cambridge

The 16 members of the Panel have been working alongside the National Infrastructure Commission to develop this programme of work.

London Infra-café: Recycling and circular economy

Over the past few years, we have been flooded with images of plastics in the sea, and the devastating impact this has had on the Earth’s natural habitat. As consumers, we have limited choices when entering any supermarket as most food is still shrink-wrapped or packaged in an excessive amount of plastic. While we have seen a renaissance of farmers’ markets and organic food, this is a real choice only for the few. Why is it taking so long for governments to take action, and what actions are already under way to tackle this crisis, from household waste through to alternative built environment approaches to new development?

Circular economy is a regenerative approach to our planet where we make the most of our resources and minimise waste. The first-ever Europe-wide strategy on plastics, adopted in early 2018, is part of the transition towards a more circular economy. At the same time, London is spearheading a circular economy planning guidance which is due to be published later this year.

In this session, we will hear from a range of experts about the principles these new approaches adopt, and how and when they will actually happen.

The event will be held in a central London venue at 6pm on Thursday 11 July.

Those wishing to attend should email

Infra[un]structured podcast

Whether it’s the water that runs out of the taps, travelling from A to B or the digital connectivity you’re relying on right now, we wouldn’t get very far without infrastructure.

In this new series, Charlotte Mitchell, one of the members of the National Infrastructure Commission’s Young Professionals Panel, will explore how infrastructure connects with our daily lives and the way rapid technological change is triggering shifts in our behaviour.

With the help of expert guests, Infra[un]structured tackles the big questions for the next generation.

This podcast will be a one-stop shop for all you need to know about your future way of life – from recycling to combatting air pollution, renewable energy to travel, as well as much, much more.

The latest episode about data visualisation and cities is available to listen to here.

Notes to editors

More details of the Young Professionals Panel can be found here.

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