Water Journal : Water Journal August 2012
young water professionals 30 AUGUST 2012 water regular features "You've got to be in it to win it!" How many times have you heard that said? From a running race as a child, to a local meat raffle, to global corporations competing for a coveted top 10 list, you won't win without giving it a go. The saying also rings true to winning awards in the water industry and, for the purpose of this article, rings true for young water professionals and the AWA Awards in particular. There's a fantastic opportunity for YWPs to enhance our reputation through these awards. Consider some successful corporations (both inside and outside of the water industry); they use awards and recognition in their field as a competitive edge. How are we any different? What's In It For Me? The YWP Awards are an excellent way to be recognised for your hard work, to raise your profile and help build your credibility. At times, being noticed as a YWP can be difficult and your career may stall as a result. Winning an award can help if you're applying for a new role or submitting a grant application -- a genuine award could give you that bit extra to get you over the line. There is also the feeling of pride and achievement that you will gain. On the material side, you may receive a nice certificate, trophy or token to display on your desk, or even monetary reward. Feeling valued is important and an award is one way to feel valued through due recognition. Who Should Apply? If you know you've been working hard and want people across the industry to acknowledge it, then you're the right person to apply for an award. For the YWP Awards you need to self-nominate, so don't wait around for someone else to do it for you. If you're a YWP Committee member in any branch I encourage you to have a go, as many previous winners have been committee members. Perhaps you're a WaterAid volunteer, or have really knuckled down to deliver a recent project... don't underestimate what you've contributed and achieved. This year our winner was Kelly O'Halloran, Manager of the Process Assessment and Research team at Allconnex Water. Kelly has added considerably to the Water Industry through education, community and industry involvement. Kelly is also actively involved in AWA's Queensland Committee, she is a mentor in the Queensland YWP mentoring program, and facilitates education through CSIRO's Scientists in Schools program. What You Need to Do Obtain the application form and details from your AWA Branch Manager and seek out any handy tips they may have. When producing your application ensure you clearly address the criteria provided. Build your application around the criteria and address each with specific examples from your experiences. Make it as clear as possible which criteria you're addressing, as this makes it easier for the judges to score your application. Also ensure you have your application reviewed by another person; your manager can be a great person to do this, as when you look good, they look good too. Many awards require references, so take time to think carefully about people you've worked with who are respected in the industry. This could be a leader in your organisation who knows the quality of your work or someone external who has been a contact during your work. Think big... this is where your networking skills may pay off. Don't Be Discouraged... Sometimes it takes multiple tries to get things right. Even though you might pay perfect attention to the judging criteria and your submission is robust, the application is in the hands of the judges and they may decide someone else is more deserving. If this happens it's important to realise it's not a negative reflection on your ability or your hard work. The positive is you still receive exposure on the night and nobody will think less of you for applying. In fact, it can pay to apply for the same award the next time around. I've never received an AWA Award that I didn't apply for twice. Following one of my unsuccessful applications a senior colleague offered to take me through my submission to point out the things I could do better. The next year I won the category. Finally, the AWA Awards night is fun. If nothing else you can have an enjoyable evening out, make some new friends in the industry and likely walk away with more people knowing who you are and what you have to offer. And if you win, so much the better. Applying for the AWA YWP Awards Keep your eye on the AWA News update email from your AWA Branch Manager, which will outline specific dates to apply (each branch is slightly different). Start sooner than later, as a rush job the night before the deadline is unlikely to impress and could potentially harm your reputation with the judges. For more information visit the YWP section of the AWA website. Good luck! Ed: Coincidentally, Mike has recently won the International Desalination Association Fellowship Award for his project idea proposing a Red Tide Algae Operation's Manual for the Kuwait Ministry of Electricity and Water (MEW). The project will involve a six-week placement in Kuwait. (See page 32 for more information.) Mike Dixon -- AWA YWP National Committee President Awards: You've Got ToBeInItToWinIt!
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