On Thursday 18 April 2024, we had the privilege of attending London Calling.

This event was hosted by the Highway Electrical Association (HEA), the Institution of Lighting Professionals (ILP) and the London Lighting Engineers Group (LoLEG). And, like every year, it united members of the lighting industry to catch up and learn about some of today’s most pressing issues.

What was on this year’s London Calling agenda? A technical forum, networking dinner and — the thing we’re most eager to talk about — a presentation from two of DFL’s very own young lighting professionals.

Connor MacDonald, who’s been with us for two years, and Louis Miller, who joined DFL in July 2023, gave an excellent talk about inspiring the next generation of lighting professionals. A month on from the event, we asked them about the motivations for their chosen topic, as well as their key recommendations and experiences. Take it away, guys!

Connor, why’s it so important to support the next generation of lighting professionals?

‘Supporting the next generation is vital in ensuring we keep bringing new blood into the industry to bolster and continue passing on knowledge and skills.’ Good point — especially given that the skills gap is widening as older workers retire…

‘Beyond that, improving support for the next generation helps companies push for a more positive workplace culture and adapt to changing candidate expectations. By providing the necessary support and learning from the mistakes of those who came before us, we can progress towards an industry-wide positive working attitude.’ Agreed! 

How do you suggest organisations do this?

‘Positive mentorship and guidance can improve employee retention rates and help individuals progress towards their individual goals. Combining this with a positive work culture ensures people enjoy their jobs, which is vital in making them want to come to work and be a part of the culture.’

‘Companies and individuals should also encourage their employees as frequently as possible to ensure employees are constantly aware of their ability and always feel empowered to work harder.’ Sounds good — we’ll take any excuse to have fun in the office!

Any groups or initiatives you’d like to shine a light on?

‘The obvious one I’d like to talk about is DFL’s very own LAMP Academy, as we’re working to progress the three elements mentioned above and provide support and encouragement for the next generation.’

‘There are also others to speak of, including the recently established Women Lighting Professionals (WLP). This organisation is working with Rise Futures to bring women into the lighting industry and support them along their career journey. Then we have the HEA, which offers apprenticeships that bring young people into the more hands-on elements of lighting jobs.’

Great examples (and thanks for the shoutout!). Now, let’s pass the mic to Louis. 

Louis, what’s your experience been like in the lighting industry so far?

‘My experience in lighting has been very enjoyable and inclusive from the start. It was great to feel like I was progressing in the same boat as the other LAMP Academy individuals. Plus, we go out in the evening at the end of every month, which I always really enjoy.’

‘Starting within lighting straight out of college came with a steep learning curve that’s been both fun and challenging, but I’ve felt supported throughout, which has been great.’ It takes a lot to start a new career from scratch, so that’s music to our ears. 

What changes do you want to see in the future?

‘I think it would be great if we saw mentoring and promoting better workplace culture to make sure everyone enjoys their job as much as possible become a more standard practice within the industry.’

They’re great suggestions. Lighting industry leaders take note!

Finally, how did it feel to speak in front of such important organisations?

‘Whilst preparing for the presentation, I felt confident in what I was saying and what I wanted to get across. However, as the presentation got closer, this confidence also came with some nerves as I realised what I’d actually be doing.’

‘Once the presentation was over, I was very relieved and happy that my speech went the way I’d hoped. It was especially nice hearing all the lovely comments from others throughout the evening.’ We’re thrilled that one of our own had such a good time stepping up to the challenge of presenting in front of an audience. We can’t wait to see what’s next for both Louis and Connor…

Interested in learning more about what we’re doing to support the next generation of lighting professionals? Call +44 (0)1962 855080 or email info@dfl-uk.com. We’ll tell you all about LAMP Academy!