APESMA President Bill Jackson (pictured right) writes to update members of the discussions held at National Assembly last weekend.
At National Assembly there was a strategic discussion about our organisation’s future and in particular how we can best deliver more for our members.
National Assembly continued its work on the governance of the Association and in particular the way the voices of engineers and scientists professions could be better heard.
Back in 1946 we were the Association of Professional Engineers, Australia. It was clear to engineers that we were 100 per cent focussed on delivering outcomes for them.
Building on our successes we started representing other professions too. First scientists back in 1991 and since then we have welcomed managers, architects, pharmacists and other professionals.
Some of our members have expressed concern that APESMA has lost its focus by trying to represent so many professions and how the dedicated people working within our organisational structures are able to manage the emerging issues facing these professions.
At a workplace level we strive to develop and maintain good delegate networks that identify and respond to emerging issues at a particular company, government department or work site.
At a corporate governance level we have broad representation of our members including many of our professions who help us make organisational and operational decisions to keep APESMA operating efficiently and effectively.
While we represent our members well it is clear our structures don’t support the representation of all of our professions. Two of our professions, engineering and science, should have a clearer voice within our structures to discuss issues facing their professions and this means we are not capitalising on the opportunity to pursue issues that matter to these members.
So our recent National Assembly meeting took a step toward improving this, a step toward creating new engineering and scientist divisions. These bodies would be charged with identifying the issues that affect you, our members, and shaping our response.
We will always be available to help our members with things like EBA negotiations, individual workplace issues and market rates of pay, but I think we can be even more valuable to you.
It’s a way of not only helping when you need us, but taking action when your whole profession needs help.
And we want to better tap into the expertise and the experience of our members.
One of our own members said it best when they said:
“For APESMA to be effective across the diverse groups it supposedly represents, it needs leadership across each of the niche disciplines.” – APESMA member from our 2011 member satisfaction survey.
APESMA’s own history shows us that our best achievements come when we get our members more involved in our decision making. When we faced our greatest challenge – the Professional Engineering Cases of 1961 – we tapped into the education, knowledge and passion of our own members to make sure we won. By doing this we achieved our greatest win.
We want to nurture that collegiate spirit so we can achieve even more for our members.
APESMA has the opportunity to campaign more effectively for the things that matter to each of our professions and therefore broaden our appeal to members and potential members.
We can help you and your colleagues overcome broad problems in their profession and in your industry, while still delivering for you in your workplace.
And we can therefore demonstrate our value every day of the year – not just when something goes wrong.
When enacted I expect that this will be a simple change – not a major reform.
This reform won’t cost you anything and it certainly won’t reduce the great services you get from APESMA.
It will, however, make sure that your issues are considered properly, that your profession sets the priorities and that where APESMA can wield its influence for change, we will.
By creating these new groups we give ourselves the opportunity of re-focusing our efforts and we should actively market their existence.
It is quite likely that in the future we will promote these new bodies directly to the professions that they serve.
We believe that members should identify with and relate directly to their profession’s relevant representative group.
We want to develop and nurture a closer relationship between you and your association and we believe this is the right way of doing it.
We will be doing some work on this proposal and looking to formally adopt it at our National Assembly meeting in May. If we are going to make the change we need to get it right.
As always we will be keeping you up to date with this as we progress.