September 23, 2014 Society

Next Generation of Water Professionals

Capacity development support

Against a backdrop of the water sector facing the need to attract young talent to help find and implement solutions across a diverse set of issues, IWA’s Young Water Professionals Congress programme got underway on Sunday September 21st with a pre-conference session focused on the role of YWPs in the sector and in IWA.

‘YWPs will be the generators of new ideas and innovations, and can really lead the change the water sector has been desperate for,’ comments IWA YWP coordinator Kirsten de Vette.

Further events will be taking place throughout the Congress. These aim to provide networking and learning opportunities, assist YWPs in developing a career, and form a platform for discussions and problem solving.

According to de Vette, it is important that there is this focus on YWPs at the Congress. The event aims to help shape the future of water, and YWPs will be the ones that will be responsible for future water management practices. ‘Changing practices takes decades and generations, and over the 12 years the IWA has been investing in YWPs, a more integrated thinking on and approach to water management (within and beyond the water sector) has started to occur,’ she says.

During this week, YWPs will learn how to develop a network and organise YWP activities in their own countries, meet a senior water professional who will act as a mentor, get involved in discussions on topics such as the role of social media in changing water practices, and take part in a new twinning event with the idea of matching people interested in the same area of work.

‘We have a role to empower YWPs, stimulate and support building their connections, provide professional development opportunities and give recognition to YWPs that have contributed to the water sector and IWA,’ continues de Vette. ‘At large events like the IWA World Water Congress, we can make this support really tangible. Whilst senior professionals have built their professional networks, most YWPs will still need to build or strengthen their network, and IWA would like to support YWPs in doing so.’

YWPs are always welcome at the YWP meeting room, 1.14, where they will be able to find the YWP event schedule and where they can sign up for the extra networking sessions.

On Wednesday afternoon at 12:30 at IWA’s stand (221 in the exhibition area) the latest careers booklet, ‘A World of Opportunities: Working in the International Water Sector’, will also be launched and YWPs are encouraged to come along and get a copy.