“Build it, and they will come” and, indeed, on Friday, 21 September 2018they came from universities and organisations from around Australia and New Zealand for the inaugural 2018 Institute of Transportation Engineers –Australia/New Zealand Section (ITE-ANZ) Student Leadership Summit (SLS). Inspired by a vision to create a bespoke conference which engaged young transport enthusiasts, the SLS saw a rush of 100 students, academics and professionals converge on Box Hill Institute to participate in a live forum centred on the theme Probing the Possible: The Future of Transport in Australia.
Like the first day of school, the venue was buzzing with an electric atmosphere in anticipation of networking opportunities, industry presentations, the transport Strategy Sprint and the Traffic Bowl trivia and dinner event.
Anita Curnow, Executive Director of Access and operations at VicRoads, having set the conference alight with her keynote address on her journey navigating the transport industry. Students were then invited to commence their own journey by taking part in the Strategy Sprint. Given only two hours to prepare, student teams required to derive and then present a solution to a panel of industry representatives on the Box Hill Interchange Upgrade Project in a “Shark Tank” style sales pitch. With the winning team being awarded the opportunity to present to Council, the Strategy Sprint garnered much competition, creativity and ingenuity amongst the teams and provided a platform for students to practice communication, time management and out-of-the-box thinking skills.
Following the Strategy Sprint, industry leaders from City of Melbourne, Infrastructure Victoria, Jacobs and the RMIT Urban Futures Institute then shared their own unique perspectives on how cities are to change to accommodate the future travel demands of the modern economy in light of Victoria’s Big Build and other major spending on transport infrastructure around the region. While, sadly, no references were made to Robert Zemeckis’ vision of flying cars or hoverboards from the 1989 classic Back To The Future II, the talks generated healthy discussion and debate amongst students on topics ranging from the rise of autonomy in transport and freight to the impacts of population growth in dense urban centres.
This continued into the evening as the Traffic Bowl trivia and dinner event displaced the AFL Semi-Final between Richmond and Collingwood as the choice of sport amongst delegates. Featuring a mix of questions, which tested the teams’ abilities to recall anything from the Austroads Guide to Traffic Management to the Annals of History, the Traffic Bowl was an enjoyable evening to celebrate this exciting time of great change, innovation and investment in the transport sector. Witnessing the level of enthusiasm displayed by students in their proactive approaches to learning about transport, urban planning and traffic management reflected a positive future for leadership in the industry and, if ITE-ANZ continues to build on this pilot SLS in subsequent years, they will keep coming to continue to Probe the Possible.
Ifyou are interested in becoming involved as an ITE-ANZ young member, visit the SLS website and browse the roles identified for the Young Member Committee. A strategic planning meeting will be held in late 2018/early 2019 to identify priority areas for young members. To be added to the young member mailing list, please advise firstname.lastname@example.org.
The SLS committeewould like to thank the distinguished speakers and guest who made the event a truly engaging one for students. The event would not have been possible without the support of the ITE-ANZ section Board and the ITE international Board. The ITE-ANZ SLS thanks event sponsors, the Box Hill Institute of TAFE, Vicinity Centres and the ITE Legacy Fund.
(Ruw) is an Undergraduate Engineer at Salt3, and a student at Swinburne University. Ruw was also on the organising committee for the inaugural ITE-ANZ Student Leadership Summit.