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New initiatives in the ASTT pipeline: Introducing Special Interest Groups

Over the past 12 months, the Australasian Society for Trenchless Technology (ASTT) Council has been very busy behind the scenes reviewing the constitution and implementing new measures said Mr Apeldoorn.

“We are working to make sure the society stays relevant to where we are today, provide more value for its members and ensure that it remains the preeminent industry organisation representing the trenchless industry,” he said.

One of the key implementations in the works by the ASTT Council this year is a number of initiatives around training, skills competency and industry engagement. “One of the main initiatives of the ASTT Council is to encourage members to be more involved and helping in the development of best industry practice,” said Mr Apeldoorn.

To this end, the ASTT Council is forming a new structure within the ASTT to encourage the establishment of “÷technical groups’ that will bring together and represent ASTT members with the same field of Trenchless Technology interests. These technical groups will be called “÷Special Interest Groups’, or SIGs for short.

Introducing SIGs

“We know that a lot of our members are only involved in only one or two particular specialist areas of Trenchless Technology and not everything,” said Mr Apeldoorn.

“These SIGs will provide a forum for members to liaise, share and solve problems in the areas they are most interested in and be able to be directly involved in determining what the ASTT can do to advance that part of the industry.

“It’s both a means for the society to ensure that it delivers what the industry needs, as well as providing an effective way for the society to engage with the industry.”

It is envisaged that some of the roles that SIGs will undertake would include:

  • To disseminate information related to the specialist area
  • To provide a forum for the discussion related issues
  • To promote and undertake “÷projects’ in areas of common need and interest
  • Develop and provide comment on national industry standards and policies
  • To promote lines of communication within all sectors of the utilities community
  • To promote education and public understanding of specialist trenchless issues.

Groups and funding

In terms of funding, SIG activities would be funded through allocated ASTT funds, continued Mr Apeldoorn.

“We have budgeted money for the coming year for SIG initiatives. Once established, they will play an important role in helping set the activities of the society.”

Once established, some examples of possible ASTT SIGs include horizontal directional drilling, microtunnelling, pipe bursting, pipe lining and vacuum excavation. Any group featuring a common Trenchless Technology interest (and comprising at least five members of the ASTT) will be able to apply to the ASTT Council for approval to form a SIG, which will operate under a set of rules established by the ASTT Council.

“The role of SIGs has been added to the ASTT constitution and we have a sub-committee currently in the process of drafting up the terms of reference for the establishment of the groups,” said Mr Apeldoorn.

“These terms will be ratified at the AGM. After this, the SIGs will be able to start being set up.”

Membership to the SIGs would be open only to ASTT members and an individual member is able to be involved in more than one SIG. Each SIG will be managed by a management committee established by the group setting up the SIG, with the committee Chairman of each SIG then reporting on the SIGs’ activities and budgets to the Council.

Each SIG will also have its own web portal accessible from the ASTT website, allowing the group to interact with members and provide access to information and activities.

The future of the ASTT?

“I see that in the future, SIGs may become the common way that members directly interact with the society,” concluded Mr Apeldoorn.

“We hope the development of Special Interest Groups will add further value to ASTT membership, as well as helping to advance the science and practice of Trenchless Technology for the public benefit. This is the ultimate objective of our organisation.”

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