European Young Engineers (EYE) is a membership organisation for young engineers of all disciplines within the European Higher Educaton Area (EHEA). Founded in 1994, EYE has been organising conferences for over twenty years to bring young engineers together so that they may share their knowledge and experience, and gain an insight into living and working abroad. EYE is composed of 26 member associations, which are a combination of national engineering associations, student organisations and grassroots young engineers’ groups. Through their membership any individual who is a member of such an association may be considered a European Young Engineer and is able to participate in the community and attend conferences.EYE also brings together representatives from each member association, offering opportunities to share best practices of running a young engineers’ association either individually or as part of a national engineering association. EYE therefore has benefits not just for the young engineers, but for association leaders and staff who can leverage EYE membership to help develop and improve their own associations.
With the advent of the internet age on the horizon, young engineers from the Belgian and Dutch national engineering associations NIRIA (now part of KIVI) and KVIV (now part of ie-Net) met to form an international platform for sharing their respective events, as well as foster a greater sense of community and leverage the European single market to enable the mobility of young engineers across borders. This association was to be called ‘European Young Engineers’, and the intention was to invite the younger members sections of national engineering associations to join and make available to all members the events and resources each association could bring to the community. With more events being held in English (the lingua franca of engineering) a broader spectrum of young engineers could be reached. Not long after the Verein Deutscher Ingenieure (VDI) of Germany joined, along with national members from France, the UK, Bulgaria, Italy and Malta.
EYE is governed by its statutes, which affirm each member association’s commitment to sharing knowledge and opportunities to grow with the wider EYE community. When a new association joins they are accepted through a vote by the EYE Council, which is made up of representatives from each member association. For over twenty years EYE existed as an informal entity, held together by its statutes but due to a lack of legal recognition was restricted in the activities it was able to embark upon. High turnover of Council and Task Force members also led to poor record-keeping and accounting, and so many years of EYE history have been lost. The creation of a formal, non-profit, organisation incorporated as a company limited by guarantee is intended to breathe new life into EYE, offering the possibility of funding new and exciting activities and embarking upon collaborations with other organisations with similar goals.
EYE is representing 350,000 young engineers from 22 countries. We are continually expanding, with the goal that young engineers from each and every country within the EHEA are represented and may attend our conferences. The EYE Council is the decision-making instrument of the organisation, and determines EYE’s future direction in consultation with the Management Team. The EYE Management Board is made up of one President and (currently) 7 Vice Presidents that are each heading an own department (with the Management Board and the individual teams being the entire Management Team) to keep the operations of EYE running. The Management is responsible for day-day operation of EYE and developing and implementing the strategy of the organisation under direction from the EYE Council. The Management meets regularly between the conferences to help plan Council meetings, support the conference organisers, and maintain contact with EYE’s partners, members and potential new members.