Neville Whittaker presenting to the participants

The Water Industry Operators Association of Australia (WIOA) Victorian Network Operator Development Program (NODP) is drawing to an end for 2019.

Now in its third year, the NODP is all about expanding the knowledge, skills and practical experience of operators working in the network operations field of the urban water industry. In 2019, there were participants from 13 of the 19 Victorian water corporations.

Scott from North East Water demonstrating the use of the “Plumb guard” unit.

Scott from North East Water demonstrating the use of the “Plumb guard” unit.

The unique program aims to identify, mentor and develop future leaders in the network operations field by exposing them to strategic thinking and best practice initiatives in technology, business management and leadership. The program runs for one day each month over eight months and includes structured workshop sessions, field tours, comparative analysis of practices within the industry and assignment work for each participant.

A range of water industry subject matter experts donate their time to help WIOA deliver a leading-edge program which encourages graduates to learn how to identify and implement best practice approaches, increase productivity and enhance a professional culture within their respective organisations. This is all designed to enable them to deliver an improved customer focus in their operations and maintenance related activities.

Sessions are held at different venues across the state to expose the operators to different how things are done at other organisations. A range of topics, including leadership, water quality, wastewater collection systems, pumps, asset management and more, are covered. Interacting with both the experts and the other participants provides a great opportunity to share experiences and knowledge with each other.

The operators come away from the program with a greater understanding of all facets of water industry operations and new skills that they can exercise in their day-to-day duties. Past program participants have able to implement many new ideas and processes into their workplaces.

One participant each year is awarded the WIOA Network Operator of the Year, with the winner announced at the WIOA Conference Awards Dinner in Bendigo. The winner receives $3,000 towards their continued professional development (sponsored by Water Training Australia). A certificate of participation shall be awarded to all participants who successfully complete the program.

Charlotte Pordage is Editor of Utility magazine, a position she has held since November 2018. She joined the team as an Associate Editor in October 2017, after sharpening her writing and editing skills across a range of print and digital publications.
Charlotte graduated from Royal Holloway, University of London, in 2011 with joint honours in English and Latin. When she's not putting together Australia's only dedicated utility magazine, she can usually be found riding her horse or curled up with a good book.

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