Harnessing future thinking for future workforce

This article has photo gallery Published on CMDR Kelli Lunt (author), POIS Bradley Darvill (photographer)

Topic(s): Recruitment, Mentoring, Retention, Leadership

Leading Seaman Melina Pacitto and Petty Officer Adam Garnsey discuss their inputs on the 2035 Sailor discussion at the Navy Workforce Futures Workshop held in Canberra. (photo: POIS Bradley Darvill)
Leading Seaman Melina Pacitto and Petty Officer Adam Garnsey discuss their inputs on the 2035 Sailor discussion at the Navy Workforce Futures Workshop held in Canberra.

The ‘2035 Sailor’ was the key focus for around 70 Defence personnel and identified guests at a big ideas Navy Workforce Futures Workshop in Canberra.

Opened by Deputy Chief of Navy, Rear Admiral Chris Smith, attendees were presented with a series of challenging questions, ranging from the Navy of 2035 to attracting and retaining its future high-tech workforce. Diverse and original ideas were contributed in an atmosphere of energy and collaboration.

Lead for the workshop, Captain Virginia Hayward, said the outputs will be used by the Future Navy Workforce Branch (FNWB) to assist in Navy planning and decisions for the workforce of the future.

“We want a Navy that has skilled, motivated and empowered sailors. But to achieve this, we need to think about the future in different ways. This includes seeking ideas from across the ADF and beyond,” Captain Hayward said.

Leading Seaman Imogen Vincent reviews the big ideas presented at the Navy Workforce Futures Workshop, Canberra.

Leading Seaman Imogen Vincent reviews the big ideas presented at the Navy Workforce Futures Workshop, Canberra.

Leading Seaman Imogen Vincent said it was a great opportunity to share ideas with like-minded people.

“As a junior sailor, it was great to “have a seat at the table” and be valued for our opinions, while others had genuine interest in our ideas.”

“The conversation at the table was engaging and never seemed to stop,” Leading Seaman Vincent said.

“The conversation was definitely focused on wellbeing and mindfulness, as well as diversity of position availability and skill set.

“I am looking forward to being involved in future workshops in which I have the opportunity to shape the future of our Navy.”

Leading Seaman Bec Little said it was great to be on a table with mostly sailors as it empowered people to share their ideas.

“For me, some of the important discussions we had were looking at recruitment and mentoring. Especially the idea of offering to get sailors out to schools and conduct mentoring and engagement across communities earlier,” Leading Seaman Little said.

“We saw that flexibility in employment models will be needed in the future, despite the challenges associated with training and our current rank structure.”

Some of the other ideas included: a greater need for individual career management to harness skills; dedicated time, roles and opportunities to embrace innovation to solve problems; self-sustaining bases; de-linking rank from knowledge and skills; and creating an environment where it is safe to ‘fail’; and, embrace more technology and people with those skills.

Future Navy Workforce Branch will schedule another workshop in 2021 to continue drawing on the intellectual input from a diverse group of people.