The Victorian Waterway Management Emerging Leaders Program has kicked-off for 2023 with our first workshop in Ballarat to establish our mentoring partnerships.
Twenty-four participants from across the Victorian water and waterway management industries got together for the first time to meet each other, establish their mentor-mentee relationships and commence the eight-month program to progress a project for the industry.
We were extremely grateful to engage with the Wadawurrung Aboriginal Corporation, with a beautiful Welcome to Country Ceremony given by Aunty Joy Oldaker, who wished us all well in our goals to care for the land and waters in our work, and to share knowledge across the group.
The first workshop saw plenty of laughter and fascinating conversation with participants discussing the wide range of projects including how to improve water treatment settling ponds, estuary management, science communication and community engagement.
Participants got to know each other on the first day through active listening exercises, mentoring basics, and sharing with the group their ‘why’ they do the work they do. Everyone shared their passions for work and life, and how they hope their work can contribute to the better management of water and healthier waterways.
On the second day, the group got to know each other better through conversations across projects, a team-building exercise involving spaghetti, marshmallows and tape, and the importance of storytelling when it comes to effective communication.
Traditional Owner Ash Skinner then treated us to a walk and talk tour of the surrounding Ballarat Region, sharing many stories and learnings with the group. The tour culminated in front of a large ochre site displaying a wide range of colours of ochre available at this one location, with Ash sharing insights into the significance of different colours.
On the third and final day, mentors and mentees established their mentoring agreements, which outline their commitment to each other and the program. They also clarified their objectives for their project and identified where they could connect with other projects in the room.
After two and a half days of enjoyable interactions, the mentor-mentee pairs have set off on their journeys over the next eight months to build their skills and progress the wide range of projects.
The 2023 program includes 24 participants from across 10 organisations including four Catchments Management Authorities (West Gippsland, Corangamite, North Central and Glenelg-Hopkins), the Victorian Department of Energy, Environment and Climate Action, Yarra Valley Water, Melbourne Water, Murray Darling Basin Authority, Commonwealth Environmental Water Office and Streamology.
We are extremely grateful for the support for the program in 2023 provided by the Victorian Department of Energy, Environment and Climate Action, the Glenelg Hopkins Catchment Management Authority and the River Basin Management Society. The Victorian Waterway Emerging Leaders Program Builds on the previous Waterway Management Twinning Program which successfully ran from 2014-15 to 2019-20. More information about the program can be found here.