Colin Sheldon is an Asset Management Specialist at Bluefield AMS, providing professional services to major mining companies within Australia and abroad. A chartered professional engineer, Colin has delivered projects for new and existing mining operations across the surface, underground and fixed processing plant environments. Prior to his current role, Colin worked for Anglo American as a mechanical engineer in QLD & NSW. He is a current member of technical committees ME-018, mining equipment and ME-063, earth moving equipment.
Standards Australia: As a recent graduate of our 2017-2018 Young Leaders Program, what was your key takeaway? Colin Sheldon: A significant part of my working career has revolved around applying and ensuring compliance to various Australian Standards relevant to mining industry legislation and regulation. For this reason, the biggest professional learning I took from the program related to the concept of claiming conformity to a standard.
From the very start of the program, e-learning modules and face-to-face workshops helped me to understand how the terms used in a standard determine which elements are considered mandatory. I gained a real appreciation for the attention to detail required when writing such standards. The program structure also meant I was able to engage with the expert committee members developing those standards, which was extremely valuable in being able to understand the technical reasons behind the content.
SA: How will the Young Leaders Program impact your current role? CS: The program provided the training necessary for me to make a positive and meaningful contribution to the Standards Australia committees that I was interested in. The training ranged from technical writing classes to professional networking workshops to stakeholder engagement webinars. I was able to immediately apply all of these skills in my own professional role; my verbal and written communication improved, I produced better projects through proper stakeholder identification and consideration, and my confidence in engaging with clients and senior management increased.
The program also provided an example of how powerful a mentor relationship can be in your professional development and highlighted how I could improve my current industry mentorships.
SA: How will you be involved with Standards Australia moving forward? CS: I am privileged to already be a part of two great technical committees. In the short term I will actively contribute to both, equipped with this newfound knowledge. In the long term, I hope to make a greater contribution by taking on new roles as a drafting leader on a new project, an international delegate on an ISO committee, and eventually lead a committee as a chairperson.
I am also looking forward to being involved with the Young Leaders Program Alumni and maintaining that network of young professionals and Standards Australia staff who made the experience so worthwhile.
SA: What does the future of standards look like? CS: With the rapid pace of innovation, technological advancement and global connectivity, standards will play an increasingly important role in keeping our communities safe and secure and, in the context of mining, provide for improved efficiencies and best practice adoption at our Australian operations. To keep up with this pace, I see standards development taking advantage of collaborative digital platforms.
I also think there is huge potential for ‘smart’ machines to process real time updates of standards and ensure their compliance to the standards for their own design or operation.
Whatever it holds, I am excited for what is to come and to be a part of Standards Australia’s future.