Collaborating to Address the Skills and Capacity Shortages in Regional NSW


IPWEA NSW and ACT Partner with University of Technology Sydney 

Following the heavy workload councils face after the recent devastations caused by natural disasters and Covid-19, the demand for public works professionals is ever increasing. Throughout the 2020/21 IPWEA NSW and ACT (IPWEA) events, it has been made apparent by our members, that current public works personnel are under pressure, overworked, and understaffed.  

IPWEA has identified that by working with universities, we open a gateway for young Engineers and Public Works personnel to come through, to assist in the challenges the industry is currently up against.  

Therefore, IPWEA has partnered with the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) to support our vision to meet the upcoming demands for all NSW and ACT local government council projects and roads to recovery initiatives, as well as our mission to enhance the quality of life in communities, through excellence in public works.  

IPWEA NSW and ACT CEO, Francine Binns commented “We’re passionate about bringing both education and industry together, to create opportunity for both our members and the next generation of engineers and public works professionals.  

She continued, ‘the partnership between IPWEA and UTS provides a pathway for everyone to work in a diverse and inclusive culture. To be able to give councils the opportunity to offer internships to future engineers studying with UTS, really is a step in the right direction.  

‘This partnership means not only will industry experts be able to pass on their knowledge to future engineers but will also provide an avenue for promoting careers within the local council sector, to address the needs of tomorrow’s workforce. This partnership is invaluable to everyone involved”, she added. 

UTS has strong links to industry, the professions and the community and has a growing research reputation and a strong commitment to internationalisation. UTS aims to make an impact on the Australian industry and community and is committed to developing young professionals and next-generation leaders.  

UTS wishes to expand its community connections through deeper collaboration with IPWEA and the NSW and ACT local government councils, in particular, by creating more internship opportunities for UTS Engineering Students and enhancing their learning experiences in public works. 

Head of the School of Professional Practice and Leadership, Anne Gardner further explained “that the partnership with IPWEA aligned with the passion of UTS in preparing students to become the engineering professionals, leaders and innovators of tomorrow".  

“The partnership will increase the exposure of 128 local government councils’ engineering projects for our student’s internships and capstone projects. It helps students to learn how to solve real-world issues practically. The connections with the public works related to engineering studies will help our students to identify future opportunities. The partnership will provide potential collaboration opportunities in students’ work-integrated learning and research projects.” she added. 

Both IPWEA and UTS are passionate about strengthening relationships and innovative collaboration in relation to student internship opportunities. IPWEA intends to exchange library materials and research publications with UTS to assist our members in strengthening their knowledge within the industry, as well as join with UTS for research activities and participation in strategic projects and initiatives. IPWEA will also participate in seminars and academic or professional development meetings or events with UTS. 

As IPWEA continues to advocate for its members, both parties have agreed that UTS will use reasonable efforts to make available a consistent and reliable supply of Engineering Students for internships with local government councils, referred to UTS by IPWEA. UTS will also work with IPWEA to help shape the future generation of Engineering Professionals, as well as promote any employment opportunities to its students passed on by IPWEA.  

Both parties also believe it is paramount to support gender and diversity in the fields of local government and engineering, therefore will both continue to advocate for this. 

As we continue to navigate these difficult times, IPWEA believes that by joining together with UTS we are able to support our members by developing leaders of tomorrow. The collaboration offers the future generation of engineering and public works professionals the opportunity to connect to a professional network of industry leaders, who can help with growth and development.  


For further comments, please contact: 

Francine Binns (IPWEA NSW and ACT CEO)  

M: 0417 065 505