Victoria Collier, Catchment Manager for the Wastewater Treatment Team of Dŵr Cymru Welsh Water (DCWW) in Wales is part of the 5th EJWP Group which began its 2-year journey with a Training Week in September in Croatia. She shared her experiences with Water News Europe.
Tori joined EJWP through a company scholarship for a young female employee to further develop her skills and networks as a leader. The scholarship is in memory of a DCWW colleague Amanda Soady. Tori shared her impressions on young professionals in the water sector, and her first interactions within EJWP.
What is your current work position? And where are you from originally?
“Wastewater Treatment Catchment Manager. I’m originally from Anglesey in North Wales, and studied at Bangor University North Wales.”
What were the takeaways from your first EJWP Training Week, held in Croatia?
“The feeling of collaboration and development was instant during the training week. The training has given me a lot linked with personal development but also with networking and knowledge transfer – and how that strengthens the impact of work completed. It was truly wonderful to meet so many people all with such a varied and multidisciplinary backgrounds. I feel that I am learning a lot from my fellow particiapants already and hope I can bring something to the table too. I feel we all took a lot from the training in Croatia. The project is great to pull us out of our comfort zones to work collaboratively on something that is completely new to us all. We were immediately learning from each other’s skills to achieve a goal.”
What challenges are unique to young professionals in the water sector?
“In the water sector, in particular operations, the teams are predominantly male dominated. I think this is an opportunity in that women in the sector can now lead the way in making the workforce in the water sector more diverse! It is exciting to be a part of this movement. I believe that challenges include the ever-changing environment, and this is for all professionals in the water sector, whether in leadership, innovation, engineering etc – the requirements in response to climate change and customer expectations are changing so quickly. It’s also an opportunity to make some really positive change! Empowerment and education of our communities and industries are closely linked to this, and we need to work together.”
What value would you expect to bring to your organization, career and/or your community from training-networking like with EJWP?
“Initially, my own personal development is to allow me to develop into a better leader which will directly impact my career but also Welsh Water. I also believe that this is a great step in building networks and breaking down ‘silo working’, and the course gives me a true feeling of success and development together. I believe this will be so valuable to everyone involved as we are all working together and therefore learning more and developing faster. This is the most exciting part.”
What is a topic that you see as increasingly important?
“Nature based solutions in wastewater treatment. I feel this is the way forward in Waste Water Treatment Plants (WWTP’s) linked with cost, resilience, adaptability and biodiversity. I was fortunate to visit France a few years ago and see the brilliant work they have done with full wastewater treatment reedbeds. I think this demonstrated that the basis for this technology is here, but there needs to be more development and innovation to allow this to become a mainstream WwTW in other countries.”
What else would you like to say about being a young water professional and the future?
“I think being a young professional in the water sector is a true privilege being at the heart of a vital service to our communities and environment. This comes along with a sense of responsibility, and it is important to remember that it is okay to explore other aspects of the sectors. Also, to know it is also okay to make mistakes when learning. Exploring and questioning innovation are parts of development that we can’t forget.”
Where and in which position would you like to be working in five years?
“I reflected a lot on this question during my first EJWP training. My goal is not a position in which I would like to be working in five years, but to be a leader who truly encompasses Fairness, Empowerment, Inclusivity. If I can achieve all of this while having a positive impact on the environment and the team I work with, I will be happy.”