IPWEA calls for government support to address skills shortages, lack of awareness

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IPWEA has released a white paper identifying a severe skills shortage, lack of cohesion and a lack of understanding and recognition of asset management professionals.

The Institute of Public Works Engineering Australasia (IPWEA) has called on all levels of government to commit to educational programs that raise community awareness of asset management and its importance to infrastructure.

Severe skill shortages, lack of best practice cohesion, lack of auditing and understanding and recognition of asset management professionals are identified as key problems in ‘Best Practice Asset Management of Essential Public Infrastructure’, a new white paper from IPWEA.

“Infrastructure such as water supplies, roads, sanitation and public buildings are by far the largest investment and most complex assets that communities own,” says IPWEA president Myles Lind, who says the Institute “recognises that continuously seeking to help grow and maintain infrastructure asset management capability can deliver greater employment opportunities, improve sustainability, build resilient communities and deliver stronger returns on investment”.

Australia has limited its return on investments by failing to adequately respond to the shortage of asset managers and not investing in their professional development, says the white paper.

“There have been numerous discussions around the skill shortage and the severe implications for the community; however, we needed a solution,” says IPWEA CEO David Jenkins. “That is why we developed the Asset Management Pathway.”

The Asset Management Pathway, launched last August, seeks to provide flexible and accessible education with people and skills at its core to address the skills shortage.

According to the Australian Local Government Association’s 2021 ‘National State of the Assets Technical Report’,  the replacement cost of local government assets (excluding land and plant equipment) was in the order of $533 billion.

Along with its calls for assistance, IPWEA’s white paper defines the role and responsibilities of asset management, its role in the community and the challenges it faces. It also outlines problems and solutions, and six recommendations for the way forward.

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