2020 has been a year like no other, yet the wheels of the Victorian Division have remained in motion and we’ve continued to champion our members’ interest.
The early part of the year saw a significant focus on pivoting the delivery of our events and professional development to our online platform, resulting in a substantial increase in member engagement. The outstanding effort by staff and volunteers to rapidly transition to webinars ensured ongoing member access to high quality CPD. The Victoria Division alone delivered 57 online events with over 12,000 attendees. A huge thankyou to all, especially to our office bearers, for your willingness to adapt and deliver in the face of such uncertainty.
As the COVID situation escalated we used our seat at the table to advocate for the profession. We participated in government roundtables relating to the implementation of Stage 4 restrictions and the Roadmap out of lockdown with the relevant Departments. We communicated directly with the relevant advisors and successfully advocated for engineers to attend workplaces during the lockdown to support essential industries and undertake necessary inspections.
We have continued to influence the Professional Engineers Registration Scheme. Public consultation on the supporting documentation commenced in August and despite the Stage 4 lockdown, we concurrently consulted our members. Over 350 attendees joined a webinar with representatives from Consumer Affairs and we hosted a subsequent series of discussion groups to deep dive into the documentation. Extensive feedback received via discussions and in writing informed our final position and was provided to Consumer Affairs Victoria/Department of Justice. We thank those who participated, providing invaluable input. We are currently awaiting the release of the final documentation, following which we will provide further information to members.
We were delighted by the success of our first online Australian Engineering Excellence Awards. An incredibly strong and diverse range of projects were submitted, six impactful projects were announced Victorian winners and we were thrilled to see our Victorian finalist, Hyperparallel OCT (HP-OCT™) for Ophthalmology and Optometry (Cylite Pty Ltd) win the overall Sir William Hudson Award, the Pinnacle of the EA awards program.
Equally as inspiring were the individual awards where Victoria excelled with an amazing list of finalists. We were so proud of Victorian Division committee member, Amy Lezala for being awarded the Young Professional Engineer of the Year and so excited to be welcoming Emma Miller-Olsen, the Professional Engineer of the Year to the committee in 2021.
Our focus on STEM this year shifted to building relationships with teachers and we have initiated a partnership with the Science Teachers Association Victoria (STAV). Felicity Furey, incoming Division committee member, has been announced STAV ambassador and we will collaborate to shine a spotlight on the E in STEM, connect with teachers and collectively to inspire students.
We partnered with universities, welcomed students to the profession (pre-COVID) and hosted our Elevation program virtually, kicked off a mentoring program with RMIT supporting students to deliver capstone projects and with our Young Engineers Australia Vic (YEA-V) committee hosted an engaging Case Competition where over 130 student teams developed solutions to design a sustainable Queen Victoria Market precinct.
Underpinning our work were divisional priorities determined with the division committee to guide our work. The committee provided a powerhouse of knowledge and commitment to the profession, and remained dedicated to support the policy work of Engineers Australia including registration, COVID recovery and sustainability, support the future of the profession through STEM programs and university partnerships and to increase community awareness of the criticality of the engineering profession. Thank you to the committee for their enduring service to Engineers Australia and the profession.
In closing, it is fitting that we recognise the contribution of Grant Scott, our Division President of the last two years. Grant has been an inclusive leader with a clear focus on meaningful engagement of members and commitment to delivering impactful results. He has been a driver of change and has consistently inspired us to challenge the status quo. He has created a legacy of impact and we have benefitted greatly from his leadership. Thank you Grant.