In modern society the need for goal setting and motivation has never been more important. The challenges faced by students attempting the HSC can be overwhelming and the tools needed to succeed are not always obvious to young people. Matt Formston was asked to address a group of high achieving HSC candidates and outline the strategies he uses to achieve outstanding success in his life.

Matt was in contact with me before the day to customise what I wanted out of the workshop. Therefore,he was able to deliver an engaging presentation directly related to the needs of our group. His ability to customise his presentation to our needs was a unique and engaging experience.

Matt's step-by-step goal setting technique of having a large 'end' goal and smaller 'stepping stone' goals tied in perfectly with what the HSC is all about. Students find themselves in an 18 month long scenario of meeting targets as part of their educational journey culminating with the HSC written exams at the end of Year 12. It is easy for students of 17 and 18 years of age to be distracted or struggle to see the 'end' goal. Matt helped to add clarity to the students’ goals, add perspective and assist with their focus on the HSC and reassured them they were on a correct and worthwhile path.

Jeff Morris., High School Teacher. Personal Development & Physical Education Department, Kincumber High School

On behalf of the ICE NSW Committee I would like to thank you for your excellent presentation last Thursday. All feedback received after the event was very good and created a good deal of debate on risk. On 29 November 2012 we held our annual Christmas Dinner for members and their partners. This was held at the American Club in Sydney and was a sell-out event with over a hundred people attending. As well as enjoying a superb three course meal, we were treated to an inspiring after-dinner talk by guest speaker, Matt Formston, paracyclist and gold medal winner at the Australian Paracycling Championships 2012. Matt explained how, having lost most of his sight from macular degeneration at the age of five, he has been able, through determination and risk taking, to become an accomplished rugby player and latterly a medal-winning cyclist. After clearly demonstrating that he was able to walk around the dining area without the aid of a cane, continuing to talk to his audience whilst not bumping into anyone or anything, Matt invited us to experience moving around with his limited vision. As Matt has some peripheral vision, albeit very cloudy, we simulated this by bunching our fists tightly in front of our eyes then walking around our tables. It was a disorientating activity. To be a successful sportsman with this very limited vision requires a lot of anticipation, predicting where people and things will be from judging their speed and direction of travel. He explained that it is therefore safer for him to cycle where there are no traffic lights, looking for a gap and going for it! But it does mean assessing and accepting the risks involved. He rightly asserted that engineers are generally very risk averse and, that whilst safety has to be paramount in the construction industry, we should all be prepared to be more daring and adventurous in developing our engineering designs.

Matt Colton, Committee Chair, NSW Association Institution of Civil Engineers