Finn Macleod, a Construction and Maintenance Engineer from WA’s City of Swan, is the latest in a long line of the council’s staff to complete IPWEA’s online Professional Certificate in Asset Management Planning.
“A large chunk of our asset management team has done the course, and a lot of us who aren’t even in asset management anymore are doing it,” Macleod says.
“Our previous Executive Assistant to the Executive Manager of Operations has been doing the course, because they’re dealing with councillors and need to relay that information and have a better understanding of asset management.
“Everyone is coming back with the same feedback: it’s a really well-run course and you learn a lot about the process. I think it’s really good for the whole division to learn where a lot of the information for asset management is coming from, and how they’re deciding the budgets.”
Having graduated from the Professional Certificate in November, Macleod credits the course with helping him score an exciting opportunity to experience asset management and public works in Australia’s largest shire.
“It has definitely has helped my career. I recently applied for a secondment up to the Shire of East Pilbara which I’m going on next week, and they made a specific comment about my asset management background and training that I’d done being the reason they want me. It’s already made a massive difference; they selected me because of that,” Macleod says.
The course has also made a difference to how he approaches writing asset management plans.
“I’ve gone back to edit the bridge asset management plan, and it’s been made a lot easier to write having done the course. A lot of stuff going into it isn’t that difficult to understand, but I really learnt why I was doing it and the real benefits from it,” Macleod explains.
He says the lessons from the course are beginning to show in the way the council collects its asset data.
“I’ve noticed from the course, and people who have done the course prior have said, that we really need to improve our data collection. Doing the course has really shown that,” he says.
“We’ve been collecting a lot more condition data with our assets; our road bridges are done every year now, our footbridges are done biannually. We’re getting some great condition data now, and it has really improved over the last few years.
“Another thing I got from the course was understanding that we need to do more community engagement and community surveys, and really engaging with what the community wants as a level of service, as opposed to what we decide as a level of service.”
Macleod, who is part of City of Swan’s graduate program, says although he was travelling in Japan for a month during the course, he found that the online format made it easy to catch up and stay on top of the workload.
“I didn’t really have any questions that I had to ask, but everyone who did was answered really quickly. It was a good community feel with all the other people in there – there were a few people emailing me and asking me questions from other organisations,” he says.
“The content was great. I was doing some of it while I was on night shift – I’d get the contractors started and I’d be in here at 2 or 3am doing some work the Professional Certificate, but all the content was there and easy to access.
“The facilitators got back to me so quickly; when I’d submit things they were back to me the next morning, I couldn’t believe it!”
Jim Coten, Executive Manager of Operations at City of Swan, says whole-of-life asset management is critical to the success of any local authority. "Consequently it is important that staff have a clear understanding of asset management and to know what we are aiming to achieve and for them to have the skills and knowledge to help achieve those objectives," he says.
"The IPWEA Professional Certificate is a clear and concise course that provides a complete overview of asset management and develops practical skills that can be used in the workplace immediately."
To date, more than 2000 people from 786 organisations and across many countries have completed the online Professional Certificate in Asset Management Planning. The next course kicks off in August – register now to secure your place.