Posted on 21 March 2016
Today we celebrate World Water Day and this year the focus is on jobs. Water is a crucial factor in many sectors, like energy, agriculture and industry. Many jobs depend on the availability of water. But also within the water sector itself, the availability and management of water links to quality jobs.
The theme of this year´s World Water Day emphasizes this link: water is work.
According to managing director Agnes Maenhout of the Dutch foundation World Water Academy many well qualified professionals are needed worldwide to operate all the installations that are part of the infrastructure to supply and manage water.
|Managing director Agnes Maenhout of World Water Academy|
World Water Academy is one of the leading education institutes for Dutch water professionals. It offers many training programs and courses in a wide range of thematic areas including water purification, sewage and urban water, water management and maintenance.
On the occasion of World Water Day director Agnes Maenhout signals the emerging training needs and highlights the importance of training professionals to train their peers.
What is the importance of this year's theme?
The higher the skills of the water professionals, the better they can cope with innovations. It is important to enhance the skills of all water professionals, both in-depth as in breadth. For a process operator who enters the water sector it is important to learn about bacteria that need to be removed. And five years later, when he is about to become a team leader, it is important to teach him management skills. For instance to introduce new advanced membrane technologies and ITC. The success of the water sector heavily depends on the knowledge and skills of its professionals.
|Training of wastewater practitioners by World Water Academy in South Africa in 2015.|
How do you contribute to this?
Our concept at World Water Academy is training for and by professionals. We develop training courses for all Dutch water professionals that combine practice and theory on all different levels, from the work floor to management. Most of our teachers are water professionals themselves. It is about life-long learning. Worldwide there is a growing demand for water professionals, especially for technical skilled professionals. Within our World Water Academy we endorse the enthusiasm of the skilled water professionals to inspire their peers. The combination of water content and didactics is key.
What is your secret?
We connect theory with practice. Learning by doing motivates students and makes them understand the real importance of their skills. We not only learn them to read the oxygen levels during a waste water treatment training, but also learn them why it is important to monitor these levels. Learning is not only about reproducing all 100 pages of a technical book. It are eye-openers that makes them enthusiastic and better professionals. I am convinced that a good basic competence makes it easier to adopt innovations.
How can we attract more young people to become water professionals?
We need to show more the relevance of our work. We need powerful narratives, not new campaigns. We have to tell about the importance of clean water for a better world. How it contributes to global health issues and well fare. We need to improve the appearance of our sector and proudly show young people our many competences.