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Brisbane greets water professionals training to drive substantial processes of change

Participants in the fourth round of the IWC Water Leadership Program met in a week-long training session at The University of Queensland last week for the first face-to-face session with peers and some of the most respected executive leaders in the industry.
Brisbane greets water professionals training to drive substantial processes of change

Dr Andre Taylor, IWC Leadership Specialist and Program Coordinator, discusses a workshop activity

It was a lively and inspiring week, involving a diverse group of participants, leadership specialists and water industry leaders exploring the skills and roles that water professionals need to address the challenges that face them.

“Within the water industry there are no shortages of complex challenges to address”, said IWC Leadership Specialist and Program Coordinator, Dr André Taylor. “From managing water allocations in the Murray Darling basin to driving cultural change in our cities to make them more resilient to flooding and drought.

"The research is clear that in order to drive such substantial processes of change we need networks of practitioners in the water industry working together and playing different leadership roles. The IWC Water Leadership Program helps emerging water leaders to build self-awareness, confidence, knowledge and skills to excel in these roles.”Participants come from a wide range of backgrounds, including urban design, engineering, project management, policy, consultancy and education.

The Water Leadership Program, endorsed by WSAA and AWA and winner of the 2013 Stormwater Industry Association of Queensland Award for Excellence in Policy and Education, improves the ability of water practitioners to exert influence and drive change to advance more sustainable forms of water management.

The nine-month, feedback-intensive leadership development program includes:

  • face-to-face training sessions
  • online discussions
  • group mentoring and coaching with highly experienced executives from the water industry
  • a sound research and theoretical basis
  • the use of ‘360-degree feedback tools’ to help identify key leadership strengths and weaknesses and build self-awareness
  • individual leadership development plans and challenging cross-boundary projects
  • peer review of the program by senior industry practitioners and leading academics.

Water Leadership training 1

Dr Taylor said the face-to-face training is a critical component of the program. “Participants build knowledge of common water leadership roles, get feedback from their peers on their leadership strengths and weaknesses through 360-degree feedback, and learn critical leadership skills from leading Australian academics (e.g. from The University of Queensland Business School) and water practitioners.

"They also learn from highly respected industry executive leaders, some of whom also play a group mentoring role, such as former Melbourne Water Managing Director, Professor Rob Skinner and former Brisbane City Council CEO, Ms Jude Munro AO.

Feedback from past participants has been overwhelmingly positive. Conservative return on investment (RoI) estimates indicate the financial benefits to organisations sending staff typically exceed the cost of participation after less than one year.

2015 IWC Leadership Scholarship recipient Bradley Moggridge, Program Manager for the Aboriginal Water Initiative, NSW Office of Water – the only dedicated Aboriginal water unit in Australia – said, "We have a great opportunity to make a difference for Aboriginal people in New South Wales in regard to water management and planning.

"So I am excited to be part of the IWC Water Leadership Program, which will provide me with the extra tools to be a better leader and to influence water policy and management at a senior level, and also interact with other water leaders to share experiences and swap ideas."

Seven scholarships from IWC, Melbourne Water and Healthy Waterways were awarded for this year's program.

Applications for the next round of the IWC Water Leadership Program are now open, with scholarships opening in mid-2015. The program will run from December 2015 until August 2016.

More information

For more information about the IWC Water Leadership Program:


Water Leadership training 2


IWC Masters Scholarships



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