Message from the BCWWA’s Daisy Foster: Perspectives on education and training during a recession


Reprinted from the Spring 2009 issue of Watermark Magazine, the journal of the British Columbia Water & Waste Association


Daisy foster - bcwwa ceo (160p)As a result of the economic downturn, many public and private organizations are facing tough decisions on spending priorities for 2009. The line item on the budget labelled ‘professional development and training’ is often considered ‘discretionary’ and is one of the first areas identified for reducing expenditures. Indeed, BCWWA has been notified by some municipalities that their training budgets have actually been reduced to zero for 2009.

Other organizations view this slower period as an opportunity to invest in education and training that did not take place in the last couple of years because of work demands during the time when the economy was booming.

In light of the investments made in infrastructure and the important role that proper training plays in ensuring the safety of our water systems, some municipal governments have indicated that regular and ongoing training is essential. They also recognize that employees are more motivated and both employer and employee benefit when training and education is considered essential and non-discretionary.

One thing that has become obvious is that these decisions are being influenced as much by the value placed on training and education by management as by financial considerations. Decisions about spending on training and education have a direct impact on important issues being faced by the water and wastewater industry today, such as water quality, quality of service, infrastructure maintenance, workforce demographics and safeguarding the environment.

The BCWWA 2009 Conference this year will include:

  • 140 technical papers to inform participants of new and emerging industry issues, research, and technological developments;
  • 15 training sessions, each of threehour duration, designed specifically to provide operators with a combination of theory and hands-on training;
  • three full-day technical transfer sessions;
  • a symposium for small water systems;
  • networking opportunities to share knowledge of new developments in the industry;
  • and much more.

From a value perspective, there is no better opportunity to access professional development, education and training by those working in the water and wastewater industry than by attending the BCWWA Annual Conference & Trade Show.

In making your decision about whether you or those under your supervision will attend the 2009 event, April 26-29, 2009, I encourage you to weigh the cost of training against the cost of not training


For the complete article, click on the Spring 2009 issue of Watermark Magazine.


Posted June 2009