I was recently lucky enough to complete a Graduate Certificate in River Health Management
at Melbourne University. This was the third time the course had been run and to my knowledge it is the only one of its type run in Australia. The course is designed for natural resources managers and amongst this year’s graduates there were a wide range of professions and skill types including catchment planners, an environmental flows officer, on-ground works coordinators, a strategic engagement manager, a policy officer, ecologists and environmental engineers and scientists, just to name a few!
The course is a combination of distance learning and periods of face-to-face teaching at the week long intensives. There are four one week intensives, which are held at different locations around Victoria. The teaching staff of Dr John Tilleard, Associate Professor Brian Finalyson, Associate Professor Ian Rutherfurd and Dr Justin Costello are some the nation’s top academics in the river health field, and provided some thought provoking lectures and input into discussions. Of the guest speakers I found Dr Paul Sinclair and Dr Arlene Buchan from the Australian Conservation Foundation highly inspirational.
Coming from an engineering and science background I started the course thinking all the solutions could be found through equations and text books, I left with a very different attitude. You don’t finish the course knowing all the answers; natural resource management is an evolving and dynamic field, but you do leave with a better understanding of how to tackle the challenges ahead with a greater appreciation of the work others do in different sectors of the industry.
I highly recommended to anyone who is interested, no matter your level of experience. Amongst this year’s graduates were people who had been in the industry only a matter of months to those with up to 20 years experience.