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Spotlighting our recent VIC Events

In the past few months there has been a number of events in Victoria. Hear more about our recent Regional Study Tour and Tech Event!

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YWP VIC Regional Study Tour

On a recent cold September morning, a group of 50+ Young Water Professionals boarded a bus in Melbourne to travel out to the Northern Victoria as part of the Victorian YWP Regional Study Tour. The tour was action packed with several site visits across the Goulburn and Loddon Campaspe regions.

It all kicked off with some excellent presentations from Goulburn-Murray Water (GMW), Water Technology and Goulburn Broken CMA. GMW presented on their “Channel Highway” and how this is managed. GMW also spoke about the flooding that hit the region in October last year and how they can continue to work to prevent future incidents from occurring again. Warwick Bishop from Water Technology discussed how his team’s work has been helping to prevent floods using catchment and floodplain solutions. Simon Casanelia from Goluburn Broken CMA spoke about the importance of environmental flows and keeping water within certain levels to allow flora and fauna to thrive. Following these presentations, we hopped back on the bus for the ride up to Gunbower Creek. Here we learned about the Gunbower Creek Weir Fishway and how it was designed and implemented.

The next day we were carted out to the Shepparton Wastewater Management Facility as well as the recently developed Dunyak Moira project (which means fishing lake in Yorta Yorta). This project, located in Merrigum, is an example of the benefits to working with community to provide spaces to foster connection with the environment.

A massive thank you to all our sponsors Goulburn-Murray Water, Goulburn Valley Water and Aquatec, whose contributions made the event possible; and Sumudu Withana and Natasha Sharrock who were absolute champions in organising the details of this sold-out event.

We look forward to hosting this event in 2024 - stay tuned!

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Tech Event: Meaningful employment opportunities for refugee and immigrant jobseekers; stories, learnings and a brighter future

Australia has a long history of immigration with the first human migration to the continent occurring somewhere between 40,000 to 60,000 years ago, when ancestors of our First Nations people are suspected to have made the journey. In the time since Australia’s population has grown to more than 25 million people with more than five million migrants being accepted into Australia between 1945 and 1995. Australia is known as “the land of the free” but is this true in the current context?

To discuss opportunities for immigrants and refugees in Australia, Victoria’s YWP committee held its Technical Event, Meaningful employment opportunities for refugee and immigrant jobseekers; stories, learnings and a brighter future. The committee pulled together a panel of speakers to discuss their personal stories and learnings having been immigrants or refugees to Australia themselves. Panel speakers included Niru Gosavi from Melbourne Water, Glenn Crisp, Martha Avenza Gebre and Abdul Gulistani all from John Holland, Anafrid Bennett from Greater Western Water and Lucy Gatto from Melbourne Polytechnic. This sold out event was generously sponsored by AECOM at their CPB office on Wurundjeri and Boonwurrung Country.

Each panel speaker provided their own unique perspective from their own personal journeys and stories. When discussing tips for interviews Niru, the General Manager of Major Capital Works Delivery at Melbourne Water, spoke about the value of training interviewers rigorously. Niru expressed the importance of ensuring providing cultural competency and awareness training and saw this was an error that needs improvement. Anafrid, the Head of Technology, Security and Property at Greater Western Water, mentioned it was equally important to have diversity in the interview panel to ensure biases are balanced. Finally, Glenn Crisp, Manager at John Holland, mentioned the one quality that should be looked for is work ethic, accent and mannerisms don’t matter. Glenn spoke to the importance of helping out candidates even when not a perfect fit for the role at hand, giving them feedback to improve their chances with other roles can be all that is needed to help them on their way.

Some of the key points from the panel discussion were that many immigrants have undergone several hardships to come to Australia. Often these hardships go unnoticed and are not openly discussed. Migrants and refugees are regularly overlooked for roles in the water industry as they may have no Australian experience, accents, different customs and culturally different. Using their own personal experiences, pathway programs have been developed at Melbourne Water and John Holland.

From the panel discussion it is clear to see there is some work to be done by the industry to improve opportunities for migrants and refugees. What is heartening to see is the people leading this change are the migrants and refugees that have the passion and enthusiasm to exact this change. We look forward to continuing this important conversation at our next tech event in November.