Water Journal : Water Journal November 2013
WATER NOVEMBER 2013 2From the President NATIONAL CREDENTIALS -- TO HAVE OR NOT TO HAVE? Graham Dooley -- AWA President In addition to being President of AWA, I am a Member of two other industry associations: the Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD) and Engineers Australia (EA). In both cases I am a Fellow. It means a great deal to me that I have been judged by my peers, under rigorous selection criteria, as being worthy of such status and recognition. Both bodies require me to undertake continuous professional development, which I do. Those with whom I do business can see at a glance that I have been assessed to have the experience, the quali cations and the ongoing professional development commitment to be able to reach and maintain the level of Fellow; indeed, I was recently audited by one body. If I was a plumber, an electrician, a doctor, an architect, a lawyer, an accountant, an airline pilot, or a member of many other professions, I would have a credential that would signify me as having a particular level of standing in that profession, as well as recognition in a speci c area of skill. Some credentials are granted by Government bodies while others, such as my two, are granted by industry associations. The water industry has been grappling with this topic of training, training standards, transportable recognition and credentials for more than a decade, but I believe that as an industry we need to have one uniform, national set of recognisable credentials that all employers and employees nd useful and bene cial. Larger employers, such as water utilities, often introduce their own training programs, which is good -- however, recognition of the level achieved in that employer's program is often not transportable outside that particular location or state. The Board of AWA has been discussing the establishment of a credential system for the water industry for a couple of years, and we are hoping to frame a proposal to discuss with our Branches and corporate stakeholders in 2014. I hope that such an initiative will be well received by members, both individual and corporate. Whatever we do, and however we do it, it needs to work for both groups. My view, which I am discussing with the Board, is that we need a multi-level system of credentials that differentiates between knowledge and experience on the one hand, and skill or speciality on the other. There are many useful models that have been embraced by other professional groups. Some work better than others and some are easier to understand. Once established, they need to be properly maintained. In my view, both AICD and EA do this pretty well, at least for me. Our credentials system needs to have some clearly understood delineators between all the types and levels of skill in our industry, and I'd recommend we start thinking about how we might do this. It will come at a cost (modest, I hope), but the career differentiation for those that have the credentials needed to do a job ought to be worth it. It has certainly been worth the extra cost that I have paid in my membership fees over my 40 years as a Professional Engineer and Company Director!
Water Journal September 2013
Water Journal December 2013