Benjamin: “I’m fond of seeking beneficial solutions”

Benjamin Hermans EJWP
Photo: EJWP.

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Benjamin Hermans from Belgium participates in the European Junior Water Programma (EJWP). He is sharing his experiences on Water News Europe. He strongly believes in the value of a resilient water system. “As an engineer I’m intrigued and fond of seeking beneficial solutions.”

Where do you work now?

“I work for De Watergroep as a process engineer. De Watergroep is the largest drinking water utility in Flanders, Belgium. We produce drinking water for about 3.2 million households via 34.000 km of underground pipes, 160 water towers and reservoirs. As a process engineer, I design and optimize the drinking water treatment.”

What did you study?

“I studied biochemical engineering at the University of Hasselt and Leuven and did my master thesis in Cartagena Spain.”

What do you hope to learn through EJWP?

“I see EJWP as a great opportunity to get a broad view with actionable knowledge of the water sector that we all face together. It’s good for everyone working in water, especially for the young professionals to know better what we’re dealing with, on a European and global scale. Creating a network while discovering the different aspects of the European water sector is a big plus.”

What was your best experience with EJWP so far? What have you already learned?

“We have just finished a project on the value of water. Communication about the value of water is not an easy challenge. Even though this was our first group project, we showed the necessary ambitions and determination to bring this project to a good result. During this project, I learned a lot about the importance of communication and raising awareness. Presenting the project on the New Waves festival felt rewarding and was a pleasant conclusion of our efforts working together on this.

The personal development course about communication during the training week was also quite interesting. We used what we learned in this course, as a group working on the project.  We could all see that it is applicable to what we are working on, through improving communication, especially cross-culturally – because the course was about understanding each other. Sometimes colleagues may be talking about the same thing, but not really meaning the same thing. Realizing this and channelling it, is important in being clear working together toward a positive outcome like we had.”

What are the benefits of an international network? What can international water professionals mean for the water sector?

“As water flows across borders, water-related issues and challenges cannot be tackled within the borders of a country. For these bigger challenges international cooperation is needed. International water professionals can and will be linking pins to tackle these challenges. Now and the in future, collaboration will be highly valuable and needed.”

Where or in which position would you like to work in five years?

“I would like to see myself working on creating a more resilient water-system. As water is important for many industries and all the people, I strongly believe in the value of a resilient water system. As an engineer I’m intrigued and fond of seeking beneficial solutions.”

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