Tackling diversity through collaboration

The Future Through Collaboration participants are paired with a mentor and provided the opportunity to learn through structured induction and development sessions.
The Future Through Collaboration participants are paired with a mentor and provided the opportunity to learn through structured induction and development sessions.

The Future Through Collaboration program is a unique defence sector initiative that aims to tackle the issue of gender diversity head on.

Beginning in June 2015, the inaugural program involved participants from Defence, Airservices, BAE Systems, and Raytheon Australia. The program has been specifically designed to enhance capability, supporting and developing women within the Defence industry.

Participants are paired with a mentor who they’ll meet with regularly, and during the 12-month program are provided the opportunity to learn through structured induction and development sessions.

The CASG Bulletin spoke with three participants from the 2015 pilot program.

Electronics Engineer, within Maritime Electronic Warfare Systems Program Office (MEW SPO) Tiffany Sham, says her mentor has helped her to gain more clarity with her career path.

“My mentor provided valuable tips to help me work towards my goals. The other mentees have also been really friendly and open in sharing their challenges and insights,” Tiffany said.

“Taking part in The Future Through Collaboration allowed me to take time out to prioritise what I wanted from my career, consider what was important to me, and identify steps towards related goals.”

Systems Engineer with MEW SPO, Alison Skinner, explained that she was also introduced to a wonderful mentor, providing her with a great set of practical tools that she’s put to good use. “The tools allowed me to identify which types of roles I should be aiming for in the future, and how I can best prepare for them,” Alison said.

Melanie Sparkes, a Systems Engineer, with Land Engineering Agency remarked that the mentoring program has been a phenomenal professional and personal development opportunity.

“Having a mentor outside of my direct organisation has provided an understanding sounding board which has challenged how I see and react to different situations.

The experience will continue to shape my career in Defence into the future,” she said.

2015’s program partners are each committed to conduct the next phase of the initiative which plans to expand and include project managers as well as increase position numbers.

The 2016 program was launched on Thursday 16 June at the Vibe Hotel in Canberra.

You can read more about the The Future Through Collaboration program here.