The long-term success of any industry depends upon fostering the interest and skills of all employees and ensuring that experiences and knowledge can be passed on from one generation of leaders to the next.
That is why in May 2006 APGA hosted a “seminar for young people in the industry” in Canberra. The energy and enthusiasm of seminar participants was so strong it launched a new movement led by young pipeliners, for young pipeliners – the APGA Young Pipeliners Forum (YPF).
Today, the YPF national committee convenes bimonthly via teleconference and, when possible, in person at the APGA Annual Convention. Each of the State committees has developed individually and each has come up with new ideas. At the national committee meeting, the State representatives share their experiences and that information influences the other committees, with new ideas transported to the different States.
YPF State-based events include educational visits to member companies’ facilities, fun-focused networking events (such as winery tours, bare-foot bowls, a quiz night) and mentoring events.
Young pipeliners attending mentoring events and being involved in the YPF committees have the chance to interact with senior industry contacts, and contribute to their industry, in ways they might not otherwise have done at this stage of their career.
But the knowledge transfer is by no means a one-way street. These events also provide the opportunity for our current (older!) generation of industry leaders to better appreciate the values and strength of young pipeliners, leading to better workplace understanding and operations.
As well as this national focus, APGA also provides funding for young people to attend the Joint Technical Meeting, the international research conference that includes APGA’s Research and Standards Committee, the European Pipeline Research Group and the Pipeline Research Council International, which is based in the US.
The APGA YPF group has become so successful, with many members offering support, that the YPF is now incorporated into the Association as a fixture, also providing opportunities for sponsorship by members.
Key priorities for YPF committees in the coming year include:
Case Study: YPF mentoring opens up new career for Kristy
For Pipeline Engineer Kristy Brincat, attending APGA Young Pipeliners Forum (YPF) events has provided the direction she needed to step up into a new, more senior, role.
“I have always been fairly certain of my development and of where I want to be in my 10 year plan,” Kristy says.
“So at a mentoring event held by the Victorian YPF in 2009 I had no problem answering questions about my goals and the type of work I wanted to do.
“However, my mentor then asked me what I was doing working for my then-employer because there was no alignment between what the company was doing and where I wanted to be.
“Initially, I remember being stopped in my tracks and speechless. I had never considered how I fit into the company regarding my long-term plans. And I had been so caught up in the day-to-day tasks at work that I hadn’t really done any planning for the future.
“As a result of that event, I have since moved to a new, more senior, role, in a different organisation. I am still working on my own long-term goals but I’m also more mindful about the company’s long-term goals. “
Kristy says gaining insight from someone experienced, who had an unbiased opinion, who could ask questions about issues she hadn’t ever considered, was an invaluable part of being involved in YPF.
“The experienced members of the pipeline industry have been great at offering their time and advice,” she says.
“When I talk to friends in other industries, such as manufacturing and transport, they don’t have the opportunity to be exposed to industry leaders or to hear their honest advice.
“One of the biggest influences on a person seeking to become an industry leader is to gain the current generation of leaders’ advice along the way – and that’s something that YPF provides.”