Wetskills is one of the main pillars of the Young Water Professionals programme of AIWW since the start and was responsible for the Future Water Leaders programme last edition. Working together since 2011 – this year we celebrate our ten-year anniversary – it’s time to shine a light on this important initiative.

Ten years ago Wetskills was part of the Holland Water Week during the World Expo 2010 in Shanghai. The organizers aimed to have young talents in the overall programme coming with out of the box solutions for real-life cases. Based on some interviews and own experiences Johan Oost and Rick Heikoop (Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences) started with the first Wetskills events. “We have sharpened the formula to create a self-supportive programme. Wetskills Challenge now is an innovative approach of experimental learning combined with a competitive element. It is a networking and knowledge exchange event for students and young professionals in the international water/sustainability sector. It is a pressure-cooker for creative ideas based on applied research.”

45 events, 23 countries

The Wetskills Foundation initiates, prepares and organises Wetskills Water Challenges since 2010. Since 2010, Wetskills attracted more than 850 participants working in mixed and diverse teams co-creating 200 out of the box ideas. In total 45 Wetskills events took place in 23 different countries all over the world. Johan Oost: “We organise Wetskills Challenges with participants from all over the world. In case of AIWW, the Wetskills participants are integral part of AIWW and placed in workshops, roundtables etc.Coming together leads to inspiration and creates new ideas and initiatives.”

Post corona

“Coming together live is important for the overall experience. We are organizing online events, which are going quite well. Only you miss the spark of being together, having deep discussion and learning from each other on a one to one base. Positive note is the increased interaction with the broad and international Wetskills Community with Alumni and Partners. People over the world are more used to zoom, teams and WhatsApp, which provides opportunities for more interaction with our community.”

First fully digital event

W@tskills-India 2021 is their first fully digital Wetskills Challenge and the fifth event in this subcontinent. Oost: “The cases focus on India, 2/3 of participants are from various states in India and the rest from countries: South Africa, Romania, Oman, Syria, Iran and Bangladesh. The participants are mixed in a bit larger teams than normal (6 team members) and co-create 5 out-of-the-box ideas for cases that are prepared with the water sector partners over there. The teams will present their out-of-the-box ideas to an online jury and audience. The livestream of this event is input for the Climate Adaptation Week in Groningen (22 Jan) and a side event of the Water Action Hub in the Climate Adaptation Summit (25 Jan). Meanwhile Wetskills Foundation will also organise a workshop on Inspiring Wetskills Practices on Climate Adaptation as side event of the Water Action Hub in the Climate Adaptation Summit (25 Jan), which is also part of our #Wetskills10 Years Jubilee Celebration.”

Further reads

Please take a look at https://wetskills.com or their and our social media to follow the results and outcomes. Coming up soon is Rasha Hassan’s blog with her learnings from the current Wetskills events. Also read attached article in H20 for more information (in Dutch). If you like to know more about Wetskills, don’t hesitate to get in touch with Johan Oost via johan.oost@wetskills.com.