Unitywater’s Environment Affairs team, Dr Sandra O’Sullivan, Kylie Crouch and Emma Newton.
Unitywater’s Environment Affairs team, Dr Sandra O’Sullivan, Kylie Crouch and Emma Newton.

Water team a formidable female force

WHILE Australia's science and engineering sectors show slow growth in the numbers of women, with the balance firmly in favour of men, one team at Unitywater is bucking the trend. 

Four out of the five professionals in Unitywater's Environmental Affairs team are women.

Headed up by environmental engineer Kylie Crouch, the Environmental Affairs team provides support and advice across many aspects of Unitywater's water supply and sewerage operations.

"We deal with a wide range of issues that includes how to look after endangered frogs when a pipeline is built, to developing a carbon and cost abatement management plan for the whole of Unitywater, to encouraging behavioural changes in staff and operational practices that reduce waste," Ms Crouch says.

Together the team boasts a formidable amount of experience and expertise. For example, environmental scientist Emma Newton advised the Queensland mining industry on land and water issues for seven years before joining Unitywater.

Dr Sandra O'Sullivan joined the team after a career journey that began with completing a PhD in fisheries population modelling in her native Ireland, then taking off to backpack around the world.

When she arrived in Australia she found her analytical skills were in great demand.

She worked for government departments and then moved into carbon consultancy - she started working with Unitywater 18 months ago.

"While the gender balance at Unitywater is mostly male, just like the rest of the water industry, the Environmental Affairs team breaks the stereotype," says George Theo, CEO of Unitywater.

"Unitywater is working hard to promote and attract women who are thinking about careers in science or engineering.

"Unitywater and the water industry in general offer excellent career prospects."

Unitywater is a major employer in the region and actively recruits staff through avenues including a graduate recruitment program for engineers, an apprentices program and a vacation student program.