Posted 14 June 2017
Written by Renee Blandin, WA YWP Committee Member
In May this year, Anne-Elise Charles and I had the privilege of participating in the Ozwater’17 Young Water Professional (YWP) ‘Professional Development Program’. Our week kicked off with an afternoon of volunteering at the impressive Sydney International Convention Centre (ICC). This provided us with the chance to get to know some of the other YWPs from across Australia also participating in the program. A room full of strangers was quickly turned in to new friends, and set the tone for what would be an exceptional week ahead of networking and learning.
The YWP Program kicked off officially on Monday morning, with an interesting trip to the Cronulla Wastewater Treatment Plant, where we learnt about the latest technologies and processes. Arriving back at the ICC, we went straight into an interactive workshop session. The session included a Leadership Workshop run by Dr Andre Taylor, Leadership Specialist at the International Water Centre. This workshop was a highlight of the YWP Program. It was both personally challenging and motivating, and equipped us with practical tools to intentionally develop our leadership potential in our workplaces. In closing the YWP Program for the day, we heard from a panel of water leaders and were given the chance to ask questions. The support of the panel for YWPs to step in to leadership roles and their faith in our ability to take control of our collective future was inspiring, and the wise words shared by the panelists was of great value to all present.
Participants in the YWP Program were given the opportunity to co-chair a full day conference stream during Ozwater’17. This allowed us to further grow our leadership skills, develop an insight in to aspects of organising a conference, broaden our knowledge of the water industry, and to network with a range of professionals from across the world.
The Ozwater’17 Gala Dinner was a celebration of a successful conference thus far, replete with fire fueled theatrics, moving key note addresses, and a tightly contested awards ceremony. It was wonderful to have two WA YWP Committee members, Halinka Lamparski and Ashwin Nayak, nominated for awards. I know the WA table was definitely cheering them on amongst a field of incredible YWP nominees, who were inspirational in their work, humility and leadership. The Gala Dinner was a culmination of an impressive social program run throughout Ozwater’17 that provided the YWPs an opportunity to network with each other as well as other water professionals.
It was an enormous privilege to participate in the Ozwater’17 YWP Professional Development Program - our thanks to Jacobs and the Australian Water Association for sponsoring the program. Ozwater’17 furthered my passion for the water industry, encouraged me to step outside my comfort zone, provided an environment to form invaluable connections with one another, challenged me to constantly seek to further my professional practice and leadership skills, and highlighted the importance of being part of and contributing to a supportive industry. I would encourage other YWPs to participate in this program at Ozwater’18.
Anne-Elise and Renee would like to thank their respective employers, Jacobs and Hyd2o, for their support for us to attend Ozwater’17.