IPAA 2014 International Conference Review

Winner of the IPAA WA 2014 Young Professional 'Expand Your Horizons' Scholarship, Ms Heather Perkins, reviews her experience at the IPAA 2014 International Conference in Perth.

The IPAA 2014 National Conference took place on 29-30 October 2014 in Perth. The theme of the conference was ‘The Shape of Things to Come’ and it focused on ways the public sector can work together as a whole to achieve, implement and maintain a successful society.  

For myself, living and working in the remote Shire of Halls Creek is a uniquely wonderful experience in that I regularly have the opportunity to take on a broad range of responsibilities that a larger organisation would not allow for, but it does limit my exposure to networking and professional development opportunities. This Conference provided the opportunity to network with a wide range of representatives from all forms of the public sector at all levels of government which I found particularly invaluable. 

The Conference not only provided the ability to mingle with public servants in similar roles to myself, but it also presented a unique opportunity for exposure to experts in varied public administration fields. Taking place across two days, the conference consisted of a variety of sessions run by public administration experts which often ran concurrently, allowing the attendees to choose the topics they were most interested in. The sessions often also allowed for panel-type discussion, providing the opportunity to deeper engage with the concerns the attendees are facing in their roles today and to seek advice from the experienced professionals as well as their peers.

The Conference had a relaxed feel, despite dealing with many hard-pressing issues facing the public sector today, and allowed for a lot of interaction. I was made to feel welcome by my peers in every session despite having not known anyone when I arrived on the first day. 

Another benefit of the Conference were the information stands displayed outside of the conference rooms hosted by organisations offering services such as post-graduate studies within the public sector.  I was able to speak with a number of informed university representatives and as a result will be commencing a Graduate Certificate in Laws in the coming months. 

Overall the Conference provided an invaluable experience that served to expand my professional network as well as improve my knowledge and understanding of the work being done at all levels of the public sector. I would recommend that anyone presented with the opportunity to attend the conference in 2015 jump at the chance no matter what sector or level you are working in – there truly is something to be gained for everyone.

To find out more about applying for the 2015 IPAA Young Professional Scholarship - click here.