New program targets boost in Defence STEM workforce

New program targets boost in Defence STEM workforce

Defence has moved to streamline access to career opportunities for STEM professionals in a bid to support the development of advanced capability.

The NAVIGATE program – aimed at developing an accelerated pathway for science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) specialists into leadership roles within Defence – has processed the first round of applications.

The initiative, which also aims to support career mobility of current Defence STEM professionals, has seen 818 applications submitted, 80 of which will ultimately participate in the program.

Before securing a role in Defence, applicants are expected to complete a 12-month program, which includes two six-month rotations, one-on-one mentoring and a professional development program.

Chief Defence scientist Professor Tanya Monro said NAVIGATE would deliver new opportunities for high-performing STEM professionals from a diverse range of disciplines.

“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.”

NAVIGATE also aims to increase female representation, particularly across senior positions, by setting pre-determined gender targets.

Of the 818 applications received during the first round, 29 per cent were female, with 31 per cent of the 302 shortlisted applicants also female.

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