When Lucille Yu graduated with a double degree in civil engineering and business (electronic commerce), she struggled to find work in the private sector. “If you want to graduate you need to do three months’ work experience which was hard to come by,” she says.
A job came up at Hume City Council, where Lucille applied for a role as a student engineer within the Civil Design team, but she was quickly routed to the asset management team and has since been with the Council for over a decade.
“I didn’t plan to follow this path,” she says. “When I was studying, asset management wasn’t taught in university. The first time I heard about the field was at Hume City Council.”
Lucille has since risen through the ranks, and now holds the position of Team Leader Asset Engineers at Hume City Council. As team leader, she provides support and mentorship to the three other asset engineers on staff, as well as a student engineer. “Asset management is niche and so I help my staff understand where they need to upskill and where we are headed strategically.”
She is also leading the re-evaluation process, which is what prompted Lucille to undertake the IPWEA’s Professional Certificate in Infrastructure Financial Management. “It’s important that I understand how asset management is a key component in strategic and financial planning ,” she says. “It was an eye-opener to learn how finance, engineering and asset management are interconnected with one another.”
The seven-week course is run completely online with six corresponding modules. Lucille says the way the courses set up really appealed to her, as the modules are pre-recorded so if she needed a refresher on the principles, she was able to watch the videos again and re-read the notes.
She also has positive things to say about the course facilitators, noting that they were motivated to help the candidates excel. “They provide recommendations on how to improve your responses on interpreting financial indicators,” Lucille says.
Of equal importance was learning from other candidates, with Lucille observing she learned Hume was not the only council with asset management challenges and with a lack of alignment between asset management and financial planning.
“I decided to do the course because I wanted a better understanding of how asset management and finance are related,” she says. “I wanted to see how the revaluation fits into the long-term financial plan.”
She also says recent legislative changes in Victoria means council needs an approved and documented asset plan by the end of the 2021 financial year. “The Asset Management Plan and Financial Plan all needed their figures to line up and that was an area that required improvement,” Lucille notes. “It’s not possible to have teams working in silos anymore.”
Lucille plans further IPWEA study and says she has plans to gain certification as a Certified Practitioner in Asset Management. “It’s my goal to be certified as an asset management professional,” she concludes.