Upskilling Silicon Valley engineers with the Professional Certificate in AM Planning

By intouch posted 20-01-2017 10:56


Since the tech boom of the 1970s, California’s ‘Silicon Valley’ area has become synonymous with innovation, growth and success.

So, it is appropriate that one of the engineers tasked with looking after the area’s extensive water assets chose IPWEA’s internationally recognised Professional Certificate in Asset Management Planning for his professional development.  

As a member of the Santa Clara Valley Water District’s district-wide asset management unit, John McHugh manages a database of the area’s $10.9 billion worth of assets. The Assistant Engineer also helps maintain the Water District’s maintenance work plan and asset management plans.

McHugh, who joined the asset management unit a year ago after working in the areas of ground and surface water pollution, says his new position called for a better understanding of asset management.

A colleague who had completed the Professional Certificate pointed McHugh toward IPWEA’s course.

“I wanted to understand the concepts of asset management,” he says.

McHugh completed the certificate in July –  now, he has gained invaluable confidence within his challenging new role.

“The Professional Certificate really helped me grasp the concepts; it's helped me with communication among workers when discussing asset management planning,” he says.

The Professional Certificate is a highly interactive and hands-on course, delivered through live webinars, how-to videos and discussion forums. The final assignment requires the participant to complete their own draft asset management plan, a feature McHugh praised.

“I think the instructors are excellent, and the concepts are well covered. The hands-on aspect is good; working with the data and having to submit the asset management plan, having to supply answers to questions, I think that's a great way to make sure people get the concepts,” McHugh says.

“I think writing the plan was very important, but I did find it to be a significant effort.”

Because of the Water District’s vast scope, McHugh chose not to base his draft asset management plan on it. Instead, the course format allowed him to be flexible.

“What I decided to do was a hybrid – I used the example data set (roads) however I wrote it to be as consistent as I could with our Water District,” he says.

Participants have the option to catch up on the webinars at their own pace – however, McHugh says the best results came from engaging in the course real-time.
“I tried to do it live because of the interactive element, where you can participate by pointing at things on the screen, marking them on the screen, or asking questions; I found that superior,” he says.

He also praised the expertise of trainer Allen Mapstone.
“He had a lot of insight and his overall advice and viewpoints were really insightful, and he was very positive,” McHugh says.

“He had a good understanding of the difficulties that the different people in the class were facing – one was the quality of the data [for the draft asset management plan], and another big one is how well can you be integrated into your organisation in terms of information. That can be difficult and he knew that.”

The IPWEA Professional Certificate in Asset Management Planning is delivered in eight modules over 10 weeks.

More than 500 public works professionals from Australia, New Zealand, Canada, the US and beyond have undertaken the Professional Certificate, with a success rate of about 80%.

The next certificate starts March 6. To register or for more information, click here.




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