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Building and maintaining skills and knowledge across the Queensland water modelling workforce

In July 2019, the QWMN released a Skills and Knowledge Audit Report, which provided an assessment of workforce structure (in terms of job roles) and recruitment and capability gaps and issues - both current and emerging - for the Queensland water modelling and use sector.

The Skills and Knowledge Audit Report was a global first in terms of being a structured assessment of workforce and capability needs across a water modelling and use sector. It identified, in specific job role terms, what water modelling and use means professionally, as well as showing the variations across government, consulting and research/higher education employers in terms of recruiting and developing and maintaining suitable skills and knowledge sets within their workforces.

To turn the gaps and issues in recruitment and capability that were identified by the Skills and Knowledge Audit Report into actions, a second follow up piece of work was commissioned by the QWMN. This involved convening a Cross Sector Skills and Knowledge Audit Working Group to identify the most significant challenges raised by the Skills and Knowledge Audit Report to identify how those challenges might be addressed through specific actions, before outlining the potential role of different employer types in doing so.

The Working Group was comprised of members drawn from:

  • local government
  • higher education
  • consultancy
  • professional associations (Engineers Australia and AWA)
  • young water professionals
  • the Queensland Government
  • the QWMN Secretariat and External Engagement Program (International WaterCentre).

The conclusions and recommendations of the Working Group are now available in the Skills and Knowledge Audit Response Report. The work of the Working Group as presented in this Response Report validated the findings of the Audit report in relation to priority skill, knowledge and workforce challenges facing the water modelling and use sector in Queensland. These can be summarised as being a need to:

  • develop and improve modelling skills (amongst those joining and already in the workforce)
  • develop cross-disciplinary and systems approaches (to working across the sector)
  • improve communication of models, modelling and model outputs
  • improve workforce recruitment and retention
  • improve workforce planning and management
  • provide more and better data for models and modelling
  • improve and provide certainty over required modelling standards and QA.

In addition to releasing the Response Report to influence thinking and action of employers across the State and the sector, the QWMN is currently examining options to provide a mechanism for partnerships, to turn some of the Response Report recommendations into practical actions.

If you are interested in partnering, or have any questions, please contact us on qwmn@watercentre.org.

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