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Young professionals are the future of any industry or organisation. Nurturing young talent and developing their skills is crucial to the progress of the industry. Appita formed the Young Professionals Network (YPN) with a mission to provide support, networking and development opportunities to Young Professionals within the pulp, paper, packaging and bioproduct industries. The YPN provides a forum for young professionals to connect, collaborate and explore opportunities that, educate and inspire them to grow as individuals and leaders.

Vision & Mission

Our Vision 

YPN will establish a strong and stable platform for young professionals to network and exchange information across the industry supply chain.

Our Mission

  • To empower the personal and professional development of young professionals in the Australia and New Zealand pulp, paper, packaging, and bioproduct industries.
  • To prepare young professionals for the transition to the bioeconomy, through professional development opportunities, networking and sharing ideas and knowledge.
  • To deliver interactive events for aspiring young leaders to connect, learn and grow.

Our History

The inception of the Young Professionals Network was in October 2017. Under the guidance of the Appita Association, the YPN Mission and Vision Statements were developed and compiled. Initially information was circulated to the Appita Membership base, for expressions of interest from the younger sector of the industry. Feedback received was overwhelmingly positive for this initiative to go ahead. The inaugural YPN forum was hosted by the 2017 Fibre Value Chain Conference in Melbourne, Victoria, held at the Melbourne Convention & Exhibition Centre, Melbourne. Young Professionals were given the opportunity to network with like-minded professionals from the industry and were privy to presentations from keynote speakers from across the globe, as well as participating in highly interactive workshops geared toward personal and career development. Testimonials from participants who attended the first YPN gathering, proved beyond doubt that this was going to be a successful and beneficial initiative for the industry’s future generation of young professionals.

Here are some comments from testimonials received from young professionals who attended the inaugural forum in 2017:

“YPN has already been a terrific resource for me especially in terms of making myself more valuable to my company. I look forward to the next YPN event.” (Ryan Worland, Analyst, VISY)

"I am looking forward to future YPN events as it has proven to be an effective way to foster partnership and communication between different institutes and organisations within the pulp and paper industry."(Llyza Mendoza, Ph.D. Candidate, BioPRIA, Monash University)

"Creating a YPN (Young Professional Network) within the pulp and paper manufacturing industry was a great idea! Not only are ideas and understandings within the pulp and paper industry shared, but also an appreciation towards how the Appita is engaging the newer generations to see that pulp and paper industry as evolving and the only way we can survive is if we continue to come together and work with each other. I look forward to be a part of YPN for years to come!" (Sakila Tennakoon, Graduate Mechanical Engineer, Australian Paper)

“The YPN session was well received by those who attended and generated a lot of talk and optimism. I am very much looking forward to working with the Appita YPN in the future.” (Sahan Kumarasinghe, AssetManagement Engineer, Australian Paper)

Our Committee

Josh Weavers (Chair)

Pan Pac NZ

Ana Serna (Dep Chair)

Norske Skog

Matthew Rea (Sec)

Wood Beca

Deanne Heier

Norske Skog

Matthew O’Connor

Norske Skog

Thilina Gunawardhana

Visy Paper

Madeleine Neville


Chris Neville-Lamb

Oji Fibre Solutions

Matt Bamford-King

Wood Beca

Blanche Herbert

Essity Australasia

Manuel Ruiz


Liam Methven

Varden Process P/L

Avinash (AJ) Jeyaram

Opal Australian Paper

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Becoming a member of the Appita Young Professionals Network gives you the opportunity to meet like-minded professionals in our industry, share ideas, learn from your peers, build your network, find potential mentorship opportunities, solve problems, and get inspiration that can further your career. Personal connections are often crafted through young professional groups and professional development programs. Being a member of such a group can be an impressive addition to your resume. It not only shows an interest in volunteerism but also a willingness to take on a leadership role within your industry. Topics and issues around leadership development provides the opportunity for you to learn the various styles and methods of leadership, how they can apply to you, and how to utilise your newfound leadership skills in your career development.

Under the ‘umbrella’ of the Appita Association, the YPN group has access to the significant depth and broad scope of knowledge of the pulp, paper and packaging industry, dating back to 1947. Experienced professionals in our industry are always on hand to support and guide our future generation young professionals in their career endeavours.

To become an active member of the Appita Young Professionals Network you must be a member of Appita, and if you are under 40 you will automatically be considered a member of the YPN.

If you would like to be a part of the YPN committee,


Appita provides a broad range of professional development opportunities for people working at all levels in pulp, paper and bioproducts industries. This includes online and face to face learning programs, Conferences, forums, seminars, special interest groups connecting people working in similar roles across the sector and awards.


Annual YPN Forum and Team Building Day
YPN works closely with the Appita Technical Committee and the senior Appita Team when developing the YPN conference program.  Networking events for the young professionals are incorporated into the program including the YPN Team Building Day which follows the main conference.  Feedback from this group regarding current topics and issues that are relevant to the industry’s young professionals are considered for inclusion into the program. 

New Speakers Competition
The purpose of the Appita New Speaker Contest is to provide an opportunity for first-time presenters to develop their presentation skills and present in front of a large audience as part of their ongoing career development. Entrants must be members of Appita (non-members are invited to join to become eligible) and have not previously made a formal presentation to an industry peer audience outside their own company.  For further details  click here. 

Social Networking
Social functions for the Australian and New Zealand Young Professionals aim to create a space for young professionals to connect with industry peers. Social activities are an excellent way for young professionals to connect and engage with each other in a relaxed environment. 


Professional Development

Appita offers a range of training and development options for young professionals in the pulp, paper and associated industries. Appita is in a unique position to draw on expertise from within the sectors in which we serve, and across our corporate and expert research/academic partners to deliver quality, relevant and affordable professional development. Our independence from individual companies and ready access to a wide range of the best peer group expertise globally makes Appita a credible vehicle to deliver training to the industry. To learn more CLICK HERE.

Mentoring Program

The Young Professionals mentoring program aims to foster new relationships and support the personal and professional growth of our next generation of industry leaders. The program is designed to be flexible to allow mentees and mentors the opportunity to work together in identifying the mentoring needs of the mentee and develop objectives for the mentee-mentor relationship. Issues are addressed and improvements are initiated. To learn more about this great initiative, CLICK HERE.



Appita congratulates Josh Weavers, Process Engineer at Pan Pac Forest Products Limited

The 2023 Brice Landman Memorial Award – Young Professional of the year was presented to Josh Weavers, Pan Pac Forest Products Limited at the Fibre Revolution Conference in Melbourne on the 23rd of November. The Brice Charles Landman Memorial Award recognises individuals who are pursuing excellence in their careers and have made a valuable contribution to their organisation and/or the pulp and paper industry, by demonstrating an outstanding level of professionalism, integrity and leadership in their position either at a local or international level. J

Established in 2019, the Brice Charles Landman Memorial Award for the Young Professional of the Year honours the late Brice Charles Landman, a strong supporter of Appita and a dedicated and well-respected leader in the pulp and paper industry who recognised the value of fostering and mentoring young talent.

Brice had a quiet, confident and inclusive management style with the wisdom, knowledge and acumen of a great leader and businessman. Having joined Appita in 1984, he was instrumental in encouraging young engineers to be part of Appita, inspiring and mentoring them to take on active roles with local section and committees. Even in his busy role as CEO of CHH Pulp and Paper, he continued to strongly support the association, realising its value in providing technical information and knowledge and opportunities for young professionals to connect and learn from industry peers.

The Award is presented at the Appita Annual Conference. The award consists of a Bronze and Timber plaque.