Two Chisholm educators just completed the career development opportunity of a lifetime with study fellowships at the UNESCO-IHE Institute for Water Education in Delft, The Netherlands. 

Richard Hutchinson and Robert Funston, both educators in Plumbing and Water at Chisholm, applied through the International Specialised Skills Institute (ISSI) and were both offered fellowships for the same course in Decentralised Water and Sanitation Systems. 

UNESCO-IHE is the largest international graduate water education facility in the world and Richard and Robert completed three weeks of intensive training as part of the Masters’ syllabus.  Other students at the course came from all over the world, including developing countries, most studying on fellowships/scholarships and completing their Masters or PhD in the areas of water, sanitation or environmental sciences. 

‘The Dutch are highly regarded internationally as a world leader in water training and technology’ Richard said. Richard and Robert found the experience invaluable and gained a greater understanding of the current global challenges in water and sanitation, the meaning of sustainable water supply and sanitation in different contexts, continually working towards sustainable water supply and sanitation and nutrient capture and re-use. Case studies covered why the implementation of different water and sanitation systems around the world often fail and the management and planning required to implement them successfully.

‘While Australia is relatively advanced in such areas as water treatment and sustainable water supply, all countries are on the same ‘ladder’ of sustainability, just different rungs. In many ways Australia is really only one generation ahead of many developing countries’ said Richard.

ISSI is an independent, national organisation working with Australian governments, industry and education institutions to enable individuals to gain enhanced skills and experience in traditional trades, professions and leading edge technologies. The Overseas Applied Research Fellowship Program allows successful applicants to travel overseas.

Both educators submitted a proposal in writing and attended two interviews. The proposal to ISSI outlined what they sought to gain from the overseas fellowship and how it could benefit the state of Victoria.  

Both Richard and Robert found the experience ‘truly amazing and enthralling, we were wholly engaged and challenged for three weeks. Doing the course together was also a bonus as we encouraged each other throughout’. 

‘The opportunity to interact with other students and water and sanitation professionals from all over the world was an amazing learning experience in itself’ Robert said.

The skills and knowledge gained by the educators will be shared with other Chisholm trainers in the numerous water industry courses delivered at Chisholm’s state-of-the-art training facilities across the south east.