As the 2021/22 NEXTgen cohort near graduation, we’ve interviewed three participants to gain greater insight into their standards journey and how the Standards Australia NEXTgen program is helping shape their future.
Interested in learning more about NEXTgen? Applications are open for 2022/23 until 30 June 2022. Click here to find more detail and submit your application.
What do you do for work? How did you get into this role?
My role as an Apparel Product Technologist at Kmart Australia is to ensure garments are well-fitting, functional, safe and compliant to Australian and New Zealand standards. I am currently working on Women’s Sleepwear, Kids Underwear and Soft Nursery products in my role. I completed a Bachelor of Applied Science (Fashion Technology) from RMIT University and completed work experience during my studies. My work experience led to my first role as an Assistant Patternmaker using the Lectra CAD patternmaking systems for a school uniform company and from there I progressed into more technical roles in the fashion industry.
How do standards impact and interact with your industry?
A combination of mandatory and voluntary standards are widely used in the fashion industry to ensure product safety and compliance. The most commonly used standards are related to Fibre Content Labelling, Textile Testing, Children’s Nightwear, Children’s Sizing, Sun Protective Clothing and Toy Safety. Through the use of standards, Product Technologists at Kmart ensure that products are safe and compliant for consumers.
What was your standards knowledge like before starting with NEXTgen?
Before participating in the NEXTgen program, I was using Standards frequently, especially with Childrenswear products. However, I didn’t have much knowledge on how they were developed. I was aware that standards could be amended but I didn’t have an understanding of the full process. After participating in this program, I have a clearer insight into the standards development process.
What has surprised you the most about standards development?
The most surprising aspect about standards development was the revelation that standards were developed through industry expert volunteer committee members rather than the Standards Australia team itself. I was also pleasantly surprised to know that anyone can reach out to Standards Australia and submit a proposal to start the process of developing a new standard.
What have been your key benefits and takeaways from the NEXTgen program?
Participating in the NEXTgen program has enabled me to understand the core elements required to create standards. These skills will not only be beneficial in the future if I have an opportunity to work on Australian Standards, but also can be applied in my daily role when creating internal company procedures and standards. I am more confident to write in a more streamlined, clear and concise manner and also to use wording that is not ambiguous so as to provide the utmost clarity for the user. Observing committee meetings at different stages has provided a practical insight into how standards are created across different industries. Lastly, having the support of a mentor throughout the program has been invaluable.
What advice do you have for those considering applying to the 2022-23 NEXTgen program?
My advice - don’t think twice and just do it! Being a part of the NEXTgen program has been an amazing and immersive experience. I have learnt so much about standards development, not just in my own industry but various other industries. Most of all it has been great to meet and participate in activities during workshops with other like-minded professionals from all over Australia. I am looking forward to utilising the skills and knowledge gained during this program in my everyday role.
Read more about our 2021/22 NEXTgen participants:
Click here to meet Roger Tang
Click here to meet Reena Subramaniam
Click here to read more about Standards Australia’s NEXTgen program