Industry needs to address Defence workforce transformation through innovation
The skills required to deliver on the capabilities laid down in the DSR are broad. So, if Defence is to expand its skill base with any urgency, its industry partners need to understand how they can help.
The Defence Strategic Review (DSR) has set a target for a 30 per cent increase in Defence headcount by 2040. That’s the equivalent of 80,000 people, and leaders have been frank about the task ahead of them.
But the attraction and creation of a skilled workforce is not a challenge for Defence to tackle alone. The skills required to deliver on the capabilities laid down in the DSR are as deep as they are broad. So, if Defence is to expand its skills base with any urgency, its industry partners need to understand how they can help.
The integration of workforces and exchange of skills is what’s required. But it should not be limited to Defence and its partners. If the industry broadly is to benefit from the knowledge and experiences of a culturally, geographically, and economically diverse ecosystem of contractors, there must also be deliberate efforts to elevate the skills of the Defence supply chain.
In our capacity as stewards of the Defence estate, covering more than 700 properties and three million hectares of land, I’m excited about the way JLL is already stepping up as we work with Defence to modernise with automation and technology-based solutions.
We are creating structured training programs for Defence staff to become familiar with new technology applications. We have also implemented a “shadowing” program as a meaningful way for our experts to share their knowledge on the ground. We also host regular forums for Defence staff to ask us questions contextualised to the projects they are working on. Given our focus on the insight-driven design and operation of real estate so that it is human-centred, sustainable and efficient, the thrust of these forums is about improving overall knowledge through data literacy.
In the next 15 years we believe that leaders of the Defence estate will be able to efficiently manage a physical portfolio as well as bring data to life to support strategic decision-making.
Part of this challenge will be aggregating property-focused data from disparate systems and observing the data security required by Defence.
Since 2014, JLL has assisted Defence with the evolution of its online systems and technology tools to improve the sustainment of the Defence estate and to enhance industry integration for the commonwealth.
Equipping the current and next generation of the Defence workforce with the technical skills to support this goal is how we view the “team of teams” concept – the idea of Defence and industry working together to deliver a common outcome, and elevating service outcomes overall.
JLL has a rich history of bringing a diverse and skilled vendor supply chain to our customers. In our Defence work, this is no different. The challenges of location, security and surge are specific, but not insurmountable. Leveraging the Defence workforce’s domain knowledge and enhancing it with industry expertise through technology and innovation is the key to unlocking future success.