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New program aims to build a more diverse workforce for Australian Government Department of Defence and Aurecon

Aurecon and the Australian Government Department of Defence launch a new development program for a talented female to advance their careers on Defence projects.

Australian Government Department of Defence and Aurecon launched a leadership advancement program for their female leaders to build a more diverse and inclusive workforce.

01 October 2020 – Australian engineering, design and advisory company Aurecon and the Australian Government Department of Defence have launched a new development program to equip female talent working on Defence projects with the leadership skills to advance their careers.

The Ascend Program will run between September and November and will be delivered virtually.

It is an evidence-based, best-practice development program that aims to inspire, develop and support high-potential women to step into leadership roles. The program also develops participants’ courage and capability to set up and drive business outcomes and challenge the status-quo.

The Ascend Program was developed by Aurecon in partnership with psychology and behavioural science company Inkling to foster a more diverse workforce in leadership positions.

Aurecon Managing Director, Defence and National Security ANZ, David Barnes, said the joint Ascend Program of Aurecon and the Australian Government Department of Defence has only been made possible by the trusted partnership both organisations have formed over the years and their shared commitment to increasing diversity and inclusion.

“Engineering and Defence are two sectors where traditionally female participation in the workforce and, consequently female leaders, are underrepresented compared to the general population,” David said.

We want to change that as it’s only through increasing diversity that we will nurture and advance the diverse thinking required to solve some of society’s toughest problems.

“Given the important role the Australian Defence Force and STEM industries continue to play in 2020 responding to the bushfires crisis, the COVID-19 pandemic and significant infrastructure stimulus spends for upcoming Defence projects, I am so proud to be able to partner with our client to jointly further strengthen the leadership capability of our high-potential female leaders,” he said.

Australian Government Department of Defence, First Assistant Secretary, Monique Hamilton, said the joint Ascend Program was a key initiative for both organisations to develop a strong pipeline of female leaders.

“This initiative provides both Aurecon and Defence a meaningful way for our female future leaders to collaborate and learn from each other. Simultaneously, this will enable our high potential women to develop supportive networks and relationships through participation in a joint development program,” Monique said.

“The joint Ascend Program has been designed for women who want to step forward and influence the shift to empower female leaders within the Defence workforce, instead of waiting for the change to come to them,” she said.

Aurecon Diversity and Inclusion Manager ANZ, Penny Rush, said the Ascend Program is proven to increase the confidence and leadership skills of women employed at Aurecon.

“In a recent survey of Aurecon women who have completed the Ascend Program, more than 73 per cent said that they have applied for new or stretch opportunities. The same percentage of respondents said that the program has empowered them to fast-track career progression. This highlights the real value of Ascend and we look forward to bringing it to the Defence workforce,” Penny said.

“The program will teach participants about why playing to their strengths is the single most powerful driver of improved performance in the workplace and will help increase courage, conviction and their own authentic voice. It will also inspire participants to set career goals, and build a pathway to leadership success,” Penny concluded.

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