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Announcing SUEZ as a Founding Partner for Careers in Water

SUEZ, the trusted partner for circular solutions in water and waste and Principal Member of the AWA, have signed on as a founding partner for the Careers in Water program and Bo Manamperi, Vice President of People Enablement ANZ for SUEZ sat down with Source to discuss what needs to be done to address the skill shortage in the water sector.

“We see the Careers in Water program as a great opportunity to participate more broadly in the industry, to highlight the requirement for the skills that the industry needs. It's also an opportunity for us to partner with the AWA and have input into where we see the industry going and how we would like to see the water sector develop” – Bo said.

The Careers in Water program marks an opportunity for organisations to become a founding partner and help solve challenges facing the water sector from an employment point of view. The challenges lie ahead in making the water sector more attractive to graduates and those who are looking to change careers.

With 75% of jobs in the world depending on water and the annual national economic contribution of the urban water sector reaching $10.6 billion, change is vital to attract more skilled graduates and professionals to work with water utilities, treatment plants, engineering facilities and more.

“We need to open up our advertising to be appealing to broader industries and communicating our message that we're a purpose-driven sector. We know that purpose-driven organisations are far more attractive to people these days with how much knowledge there is around the environment, circularity and making sure that sustainability is at the forefront.” Bo said.

The skills shortage

3000+ extra jobs are expected to be created in the water sector in just a few short years. This boom is in line with SUEZ’ expectations as they need more skilled professionals to meet emissions targets.

“This is the decade of water, and we see there is going to be significant opportunity for people to grow their career in a purpose-led sector.” Bo said.

“In Australia, we take for granted that when we turn on the tap, we get clean safe drinking water and that our wastewater services are so advanced and efficient that the regular person doesn't even know what happens [in terms of waste treatment].”

The double edge sword

The water sector needs to be clearer about how water is produced and how wastewater is treated and the circularity around this.

“Now is the time for the water industry to attract skilled professionals by being transparent and open about the importance of water in all fields but particularly health, circular economy and quality of life for all Australians”, Bo said.

All water utilities and professionals have a responsibility to be the leaders in closing the skills shortage and enhancing diversity and inclusion.

“We do have parts of the country that don't have water security and the water industry has a real opportunity to affect change in that area”.

Future generations

Despite the skills shortage, Bo reinforced that this may not be a bad thing for Young Water Professionals looking for a secure role compared to other industries.

“This is an opportunity to participate in a large program that is building a nation of experts and positions water as an enviable career choice. It’s a fantastic way to gain the exposure and experience to accelerate your career. As time moves on, there are going to be roles that will push the boundaries of technology including integrating next generation technologies, utilising AI and further automation.” Bo said.

“It’s an exciting time, I view Careers in Water as a great opportunity to get involved. Grow your career and really challenge yourself. I want to leave a better, sustainable world for my kids. I want them to have water while living in the driest continent on the planet. This is a great opportunity to participate in an industry which is aiming to solve those big problems.”

Want to know more about Careers in Water?

The Australian Water Association is bringing the sector together to address this shortage and established the Careers in Water Program to promote awareness, attraction and retention of skills and talent to Australian water organisations now and in the future.

We invite you to attend a webinar on Monday 3rd June from 1:00pm - 1:30pm AEST where we will share the purpose of Careers in Water, progress thus far and how your organisation can support and become involved in this program.

Register for the Careers in Water Webinar

If you have a question or would like to discuss the Careers in Water Program, please contact the team.