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Feature Article - Victorian Certification Case Studies
John Harris (Manager Treatment Operations with Wannon Water) and Kathy Northcott (Senior Process Engineer with Veolia Water) had an article on the Victorian certification scheme pulished on page 39 of the December 2013 editiion of the AWA Water Journal.
Drinking Water Operators as Health professionals - The journey towards Certification
WIOA - Water Industry Operator Certification Scheme
Attaining certified status under the WIOA Victorian Water Industry Operator Certification Scheme indicates that an individual water treatment operator has a specific set of knowledge, skills, competence and experience which is recognised by the employer and the certifying body (WIOA).
Under the “Framework for Water Treatment Operator Competencies - Best Practice Guidelines (2010)”, the microbial risk assessment of each drinking water treatment system forms the basis for determining and defining the competency and capability required of the certified operator.
Certification has been separated into two classifications of Water Treatment Operators:
- Certified Water Treatment Operator Level 3
- Certified Water Treatment Operator Level 4
Each classification requires certified operators to complete a qualification including specific training units aligned to the treatment processes operated, stipulates an amount of relevant industry experience, requires capability sign off by the employer and includes a requirement to keep skills and knowledge current.
Matching the operator with the facilities they operate
One of the key features of the Best Practice Guidelines and the WIOA Industry Operator Certification Scheme is the matching of the demonstrated skills and abilities of the operator to the water treatment facility they operate.
WIOA works closely with the Victorian Department of Health and the water businesses to ascertain the requirements of each water treatment facility in Victoria. The water business also has a role to play in the certification process, by validating that the individual has the relevant experience and capability to competently operate the facility.
Certification by an independent organisation like WIOA demonstrates that individual operators and the water supplier are committed to the water industry through their professionalism and the attainment of workplace best practice.
Certified individuals – are skilled and committed water industry operations practitioner. Their status as a Certified Water Treatment Operator demonstrates their commitment to excellence by participating in a process to assess and update their knowledge. They can be confident that they are doing the job to meet best practice and this can bring advancement and recognition. All certified personnel will be listed on WIOA’s national database.
Certified Water Treatment Operators will also benefit:
Employers - knowing that staff members who are Certified have the skills for the occupation and are committed to excellence in their role.
Career pathway – job seekers and young people will recognise and benefit from the enhanced career pathways in the water industry resulting from the industry based certification system which specifies training, knowledge, skills and experience.
Private Industry Employers - by insisting on using certified personnel they are practising sound risk management.
The water industry – operationally can become more professional as a result of gaining, recognising and documenting the skills necessary for each occupation. As more and more operators become certified, the level of professionalism in the water industry will continue to improve.
The environment - will be better off as well-informed operational practices can prevent inappropriate off site discharges, conserve water and avoid damage to aquifers and waterways.
Consumers - will know that when their systems are operated by a Certified specialist, those people will have the skills and experience necessary to operate or manage a system efficiently, effectively and with minimal impact on public health.
Update on the Status of the National Certification Framework
The Water Industry Skills Taskforce (WIST) announced that the Water Industry Operators Association (WIOA) was formally appointed as the national Certifying Body at the WIST meeting on the 15th April.
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