STEM in Defence Summit

Growing the STEM workforce: Filling the well
21 August 2018 | Hyatt Hotel, Canberra





2018 Agenda

Tuesday 21 August 2018

8:25 OPENING | Opening remarks from the Chair

Katherine Ziesing, Editor, Australian Defence Magazine



Senator the Hon Marise Payne, Minister for Defence

9:00 The Strategic importance of attracting and developing STEM talent into the Defence Force

AIRCDRE Sue McGready CSC, Director General Defence Force Recruiting, Department of Defence

9:20 KEYNOTE | Defence Industry Skilling and STEM Strategy Update

Dr Kearnan will discuss the development of the Defence Industry Skilling and STEM Strategy. The Strategy focuses on helping Australian defence industry to have the workforce it needs with the right skills when required to meet Defence’s increasing capability needs over the next decade. The Strategy is addressing the continuum from defence industry’s identity as a sector, to early engagement of students, transition of workers into the industry, and the retention and development of the skills required to position defence industry to support Defence and maximise benefits across the Australian economy.

Dr Sheridan Kearnan, First Assistant Secretary Defence Industry Policy, Strategic Policy and Intelligence Group


9:40 ROUNDTABLE | Defining ‘STEM’ and aligning goals between Education, Industry and Defence

  • Identifying skills expected of students, and skills needed by industry
  • What does a ‘successful’ STEM engagement program look like?
  • Change, industry collaboration and leadership in schools
  • The importance of changing the perception of trades and vocational education
  • How can we ensure better coordination of STEM programs between schools, industry and defence?
  • How can SMEs engage with schools? How can they absorb apprentices and interns?

With introduction from Mr Rick Persse, Chief Executive, SA Department for Education
Facilitator: Rick Evans, STEM Workforce Manager, Regional Development Australia – Hunter
Richard Price, CEO, Defence SA
Penny Johnston, Director Defence, TAFE SA

10:40 Networking and refreshment break

11:00 Victorian Space Science Education Centre (VSSEC): Preparing the Future Workforce Brett

Brett Biddington AM, Chair, Advisory Board of the Victorian Space Science Education Centre (VSSEC)


Dr Alex Zelinsky AO, Defence Chief Scientist, Department of Defence


12:00 CASE STUDY | P-TECH Schools: a successful model for developing a region’s STEM industries with a focus on shipbuilding and maintenance

  • Preparing young Australians for 21st Century careers
  • Providing hands-on experiences as a means of developing understanding of workplace culture and expectations
  • Supportive pathways for youth to engage in workplace experiences and developing understanding of their employment prospects

Andrew Sezonov, General Manager, Skilling Australia Foundation
Asta Morgan, Southern Perth P-TECH Industry Liaison Officer, Skilling Australia Foundation

12:30 CASE STUDY | STEM Nation, STEM Sista and Concept2Creation: Impacting our future STEM Leaders

  • The importance of early exposure to role models and opportunities in STEM
  • What is STEM Sista and Concept2Creation? What and how did the students learn?
  • How have the Students used the knowledge and experience they gained on the program in real life?

Teresa Janowski, General Manager, STEM Nation

13:00 Lunch and networking break


14:00 KEYNOTE | Disruption, diversity and award-winning innovation

Our STEM workforce is experiencing a profound digital disruption and engineering is no exception. The problems we need to solve as engineers are getting increasingly complex (“wicked”) in nature. This means we need a new breed of engineers who are diverse in their thinking, collaborative in practice and have deep empathy for the needs of humanity and our planet. Learn how these insights can be applied as Dr Kayvani shares how Aurecon is positioning its workforce and practice to redefine a new vision for engineering.

Professor Kourosh Kayvani, Managing Director Design, Innovation & Eminence, Aurecon

14:30 ROUNDTABLE | Priorities and strategies for attracting and keeping STEM Talent

  • The changing landscape of work in Defence and Defence Industry: the need for transformation and innovation
  • How to better attract talent to STEM pathways specifically in defence and defence industry? What are the
    key messages that will resonate? What is the role of parents, the education system, and industry?
  • How can inclusivity and career development pathways be improved to ensure better retention?
  • The importance of vocational skilling and reskilling programs

Facilitator: Dr Andrew Dowse AO, Director, Defence Research and Engagement, Edith Cowan University
John Bale, CEO and Managing Director, Soldier On
Shanaye Baxter, Assistant Director Indigenous Engagement, Defence Science & Technology
Megan Lilly, Head of Workforce Development and Education, Ai Group
Matt Opie, Director Defence, University of South Australia

15:30 Networking and refreshment break


16:00 WORKSHOP | Strategies and tools for achieving gender equity in STEM

This workshop will give attendees strategies and tools to achieve gender equity throughout the stages of the STEM pipeline, with a particular focus on the university and industry sectors.

Francesca Maclean, ACT Young Woman of the Year, co-founder, Fifty50, and Engineer Consultant, Arup

16:30 CASE STUDY | Building a national challenge program for cyber security

In 2017, Austcyber delivered Australia’s first defence industry cyber challenge, which was a collaboration across industry, academia and government. Hear insights, reflections and plans on the development of a national program of competitions designed to mobilise young people and grow the pool of cybersecurity professionals to make Australia a global cybersecurity leader.

Owen Pierce, Program Manager, National Research and Education, AustCyber

17:00 CLOSING | Closing remarks from the Chair

17:10 Networking Drinks