Research begins for young professionals’ careers project

Utility and WASH service managers are being called on to take part in new research via a short survey, that will lead to better opportunities and career paths for talented young professionals.

The world is facing ever-increasing challenges in water and sanitation and we need to ensure the workforce of now and the future is equipped and motivated to tackle these problems.

This is why utilities and WASH services need to be managed and operated by the brightest and most able young people who feel encouraged and empowered to work in water and sanitation.

This can only happen if utility and service managers understand the skills the new skills that young people have, how they work, their short and long-term aspirations and how to develop them.

To do this, AquaFed is working on the Career Pathways Guidance project under the Valuing Water Initiative. The research phase has now been launched and the survey published. There could also be a follow-up interview with the researchers, which can be in English, French, Spanish or Portuguese.

The Guidance is for managers primarily in southern hemisphere countries on how to manage young professionals’ career paths. However we hope utility managers from all over the world take part in the research as ageing workforces in utilities is a global challenge. The Guidance should provide new and innovative ideas for service providers on how to manage their young workforce– ideas that are practical and easy to implement.

We are doing this project because we have listened to young professionals both in the sector and other connected sectors such as climate change and health, and their messages are that they:

• Want to move around between jobs more easily within the sector rather than stay in one organisation;

• Want to be able to move between related sectors such as water, health, environment, and climate change;

• Don’t want to be known as just water professionals and see themselves as part of wider agendas on climate change and sustainability;

• Have new skills and ways of working that are not recognised or understood by employers and that are much more transferrable than employers acknowledge;

• Can be encouraged and incentivised not just financially but through the opportunities of experiences, networks and more formal recognition of their contributions.

The Rural Water Supply Network is partnering with AquaFed to deliver the research phase of Career Pathways Guidance.

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