The Future Through Collaboration (TFTC) 2018 Mentoring Program has kicked off, with Minister for Defence Marise Payne giving a keynote address at the official launch in Canberra, calling for more representation of women in STEM fields.
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Senior members of the Defence sector joined Minister Payne and participants at the launch of the 2018 program. The program, which was started in 2015, welcomed participants from Department of Defence, Royal Australian Navy, BAE Systems, Airservices Australia, Raytheon Australia, QinetiQ, Jacobs, Nova Systems, KBR, and Beca.
"I see The Future Through Collaboration Mentoring Program as a three-way win for the defence sector. The program is a win for defence industry, a win for Defence and a win for all the individuals involved," Minister Payne said.
"We need to increase the representation of women in defence industry to better reflect Australian society and strengthen the retention of the women Defence has recruited and trained, particularly in the areas of STEM."
The TFTC Mentoring Program is a unique collaboration that aims to tackle the issue of diversity head on by supporting the development of women within the engineering and project management disciplines and has a focus on creating a supportive and inclusive industry environment as well as developing skills that will allow participants to thrive in defence industry.
Phillipa Crane, a systems engineer at CASG and a mentee in the 2017 program, said the program allowed her to develop new skills.
"I’ve gained a lot more confidence in myself; TFTC and my mentor gave me the courage to accept a new position completely outside my comfort zone, where I’ve had the opportunity to develop a lot of new skills," Craine said.
"Over the course of the program I have learnt to make self-reflection and personal development an integral part of my working week, instead of being forgotten amongst all my other work, which will continue to influence my career well after the program finishes."
Suzanne Melotte, a project manager with Beca and Director General Reserves for Forces Command is an incoming mentor this year who is looking to pass on her years of experience in industry.
"I wish this program had been around 20 years ago, it would have saved me a lot of pain. I’m looking forward to sharing my experience so hopefully my mentee won’t make some of the same mistakes I did," Melotte said.