Young IPWEA – Developing Leaders for Tomorrow

In recent years there has been widespread acknowledgement that the numbers of engineers leaving the workforce have far outstripped the numbers of new entrants.

This issue has been further exacerbated within the local government context and the issue has received substantial attention at various levels from within the local government engineering community.

As the peak body representing the interests of the local government engineering sector, IPWEA has identified engaging with young engineers as an important means to sustain the local government engineering profession.

To support IPWEA’s focus on engaging with younger engineers, a group of young members has committed to establishing a network for peers to initially share experiences, tell their stories and most importantly understand who their peers are. From this basis it is hoped that these younger engineers will be able to inform IPWEA on perceived barriers to attracting young people into the industry and assist in delivery of strategies to hurdle these barriers.

If either you are a younger engineer interested in getting involved or you know of someone in your workplace who may be interested please join us through the website or get in contact with Laura Currie on 02 8267 3001 or via email at laura.currie@ipwea.org. Joining YIPWEA means you can be a part of the most influential group of young public works professionals in Australia.

We aim to grow the skills, confidence, competence and influence of young Public Works Professionals, through:

  • Networking Events
  • Mentoring Programs
  • Online Forums
  • Committee Meetings, and
  • Direct access to your YIPWEA Representatives.

6 Reasons to join Young IPWEA:

  • Access to knowledge and expertise from highly-regarded professionals
  • Exposure to different work experiences, projects and skill sets
    Mentoring Opportunities
  • A forum to ask questions of more experienced professionals outside of your workplace – Click here to access the forum.
  • A unique chance to contribute to the policy and direction of IPWEA
  • A strong voice in the advancement of Public Works Professionals in Australia.

What time and commitment is involved?

As much or as little as you would like!!

Each state has their own branch, where there are activities for participation. We are always looking for idea, as well as your help in spreading the work so our group can reach as many you public works professionals as possible.

Below are some examples of Young IPWEA NSW Members and what inspired them to become Engineers:

Name: Hamish ScroopePocket Sally Photo

Age: 28

Position in Public Works: Development Engineer at Queanbeyan City Council

Qualifications: Bachelor of Engineering Technology (Municipal), Advanced Diploma of Engineering Design (Civil)

Age when started working in Public Works Engineering: 18 (First year out of School)

What got me interested in Public Works Engineering: When finishing up Year 12, I had been accepted into Wollongong University to study Civil Engineering. At the same time my local Council advertised a Civil Engineering Trainee-ship. Whilst the uni degree would have been completed in 4 years and given me a full bachelor’s qualification, the temptation to be working in a full-time position (earning money) whilst completing my studies (which Council paid for) was too great to pass up. By the time I had finished my first engineering qualification (Advanced Diploma) I had almost five valuable years working in the engineering industry on a very wide variety of projects for my local community.

I highly recommend a trainee-ship program to any future Public Works employee if the opportunity presents itself.

Interesting Projects I am working on, or worked on recently: I am currently working on the engineering assessment of a development application for the construction of a new township of approximately 3,000 people. Other interesting projects I have worked in local government include (but are definitely not limited to): Rural road, CBD car-park, river crossing and pedestrian bridge constructions; a former gasworks site remediation; developing asset registers; developing and maintaining GIS systems; and detailed survey and design.

One of the great things about working in the Public Works industry is the potential to gain experience on a wide variety of projects without becoming railroaded into a specialised field from the outset of your career.

Name: Stephen HowlettIMAG0197

Age: 29

Position in Public Works: Project Engineer since 2009

Qualifications: Bachelor of Engineering in Civil Engineering (First Class Honours), University of Newcastle 2009

Graduate Certificate in Business Administration, Deakin University, 2013

Currently completing Master of Business Administration, Deakin University, expected completion 2017

Age when started working in Public Works Engineering: I was 19 when I first started working for Dubbo City Council (now Western Plains Regional Council). I was lucky enough to obtain a UNISS Scholarship which allowed me to gain 85 weeks of practical experience whilst I completed my Engineering Degree over five years.

What got me interested in Public Works Engineering: Being a Dubbo boy, having the opportunity to contribute to the development of my hometown was what encouraged me to apply for a scholarship with Dubbo City Council. When I completed my work placements throughout university, I gained a real appreciation for the wide variety of challenging work that a Public Works Engineer can be involved in, and made it easy for me to figure out what I wanted to do after university.

Throughout my eleven years in Public Works Engineering, I have been heavily involved in the construction of roads infrastructure, water infrastructure, sewer infrastructure, rail infrastructure, stormwater infrastruture, waste facilities, residential subdivisions, footpaths, cycleways and even some bridges. It is the variety of work that keeps me motivated and wanting to come to work every day. I am also lucky that my employer is very supportive of career development through further study, regular training and mentoring, and attendance art IPWEA meetings and forums.

Interesting Projects I am working on, or worked on recently:In my time as a Student Engineer and Project Engineer, I have been able to lead a number of major projects within the Dubbo Local Government area. The ones which stand out for me are:

– Dubbo Urban Stormwater Network Upgrade – involved installation of 800 metres of 1350 mm diameter stormwater pipe in trenches up to 7m deep through the Dubbo CBD. The project cost was $3.5 million, and was an IPWEA Excellence award winner in 2012.
– Talbragar Street Roundabout – involved the staged construction of a roundabout at a major CBD intersection. The challenges included maintaining traffic flow and satisfying community concerns. The project won an IPWEA Excellence Award in 2013.
– Troy Rail Deviation Project – a $7 million rail and road realignment project. Council undertook some of the works in building a railway line, which is something that we had never done. It was a great learning experience, and really highlighted the importance of engineering knowledge in major projects, and how political influence can actually cause more problems.
– Wheelers Lane Road Widening (currently underway)- a $2.5 million project involving widening of Wheelers Lane at the railway crossing to four lanes, dealing with John Holland Rail and the community. Wheelers Lane experiences traffic volumes of about 14,000 vehicles per day.
– Mitchell Highway Capstan Drive Roundabout (currently underway) – a $3 million project which involves the construction of a new two lane roundabout on the Mitchell Highway to service a future residential estate.

Name: Will Barton

Age: 30

Position in Public Works: Director Engineering Services at Junee Shire Council, IPWEA NSW Board Member and Australasian Chair of Young IPWEA

Age when started working in Public Works Engineering: 19 – 12 month internship at Junee Shire Council

What got me interested in Public Works Engineering: My community has always played an important role in my life, something fostered by a childhood spent in a small, tight-knit community in the Blue Mountains. So I was always interested in doing something that would give back to my community, something in which I could be an active participant in the future prosperity of my community and make a difference.

At the same time, I always enjoyed building things and was fascinated about how things worked. I have early memories of not-so-carefully dismantling old electronics, only to be dismayed at how uninteresting it all was. But my crowning achievement of childhood was damning the creek at the back of my parents’ house to the point where I successfully surcharged the banks and flooded our yard.

With those two drivers running to the core, public works engineering was a very natural, very comfortable fit and I grabbed the opportunity after sitting through a presentation by a group of Riverina (REROC) public works engineers in my first year of uni.

Interesting Projects I am working on, or worked on recently:We’ve got a number of significant projects on the go at the moment and have just finished off some pretty incredible work considering the relatively small council I work for.

Finished just last year, the Byrnes Road Deviation project was a $1.5m deviation of an arterial road, on of our critical links to Wagga Wagga. The purpose of this project was to deliver freight and economic efficiencies to the region by removing a constraint on high productivity vehicles accessing a local intermodal freight hub. This project consisted of 1.3km of greenfield road construction, two new bridge structures, raising the road on average almost a metre and designing for road trains, all while maintaining traffic flow and without interfering with the adjacent Sydney-Melbourne Railway.

Another project was reviewing the solid waste services provided by the Council to the Shire, a community of over 5000 people. This review focused on the key elements of waste services: kerbside collection of waste, operation on the town’s landfill, operation of a number of rural transfer stations and the introduction of kerbside organics collection. This review turned around a business unit worth almost $1m and had been facing deficits into the future, to one with a financially sustainable outlook through a combination of efficiency, productivity and revenue measures.

Name: Nicola Daaboul

Age: 31

Qualifications: Director Bachelor Science (Major in Archelogy), Graduate Certificate Infrastructure Engineering and Management and Master Infrastructure Engineering and Management.

Age when started working in Public Works Engineering: I started my career in Local Government in 2007 working for a small rural Council in Far North Queensland, I was 21 years old.

What got me interested in Public Works Engineering: My I never really considered a career in Public Works Engineering and kind of fell into it. I love knowing that the work I do benefits the community and it is really rewarding knowing that I’m working towards a sustainable environment that future generations will enjoy.

Interesting Projects I am working on, or worked on recently: We At Bankstown City Council I led and delivered the Closing the Loop Project. Closing the Loop is built around 4 interfaces that enables staff to effectively manage all aspects of the work order process including resource allocation, assets, customer and financial management.