Leadership program strengthens Defence STEM workforce

Department of Defence

Defence is strengthening its science and technology workforce by selecting 80 of Australia’s brightest minds to be fast-tracked into leadership positions.

The NAVIGATE program provides a pathway for science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) specialists to transition into Defence, or to provide career mobility to current Defence STEM professionals.

Chief Defence Scientist, Professor Tanya Monro said this new program offers a unique opportunity for high-performing STEM professionals from a range of academic disciplines and different backgrounds.

“NAVIGATE will enhance Defence’s ability to leverage cutting-edge technology to keep Australians safe,” Professor Monro said.

“Strengthening our STEM workforce gives us a significant advantage that is central to our efforts to further strengthen Defence capability.

“This program ensures we are enabling the best talent from across our community to realise their full potential in the service of our nation.”

A key aim of NAVIGATE is to increase female representation, particularly at more senior levels, and the program was launched with pre-determined gender targets (40% female, 40% male and 20% any gender).

Applications closed in November; of the 818 applications received, 29% of applicants were female. There were 302 applicants shortlisted to move to the assessment stage, of which 31% were female.

Of the successful candidates offered a position on NAVIGATE, 43% were female, 49% were male, and 8% were undisclosed.

“This female representation figure is very encouraging,” Professor Monro said.

Participants in NAVIGATE will have the opportunity to work on solving some of Defence’s most significant science and technology challenges.

The 12-month program includes two six-month rotations, one-on-one mentoring and a dedicated professional development program, before participants are placed into a role within Defence.

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