Horses inspire new ideas to encourage ‘joining up’
A modern horse-training technique inspired new ideas for Navy’s recruiting team when they swapped their city desks for grassy paddocks during a recent planning day.
The small team, which works under the Navy People Branch, held the event at Gunben, a property north-west of Canberra.
The property is home to Remount, a not-for-profit organisation founded by Commander Ben Maguire that supports the mental health of serving members and veterans through equine programs.
The team workshopped ways to navigate the challenges of growing Navy’s future workforce and planned a raft of initiatives to recruit new officers and sailors, and retain members.
Director Navy Recruiting and Entries Commander Lucinda Casey said Gunben was the perfect setting to get her team thinking of innovative solutions.
“In horsemanship, wild horses have traditionally been broken in – a process which involves breaking the horse’s spirit in order to achieve power of command over the horse,” she said.
“There has been a major shift over the past few years, with many people in the equine industry now preferring the ‘joining up’ method – a process which seeks to gain the trust of the horse and have it wilfully join the horseman’s pack.
“This requires strong leadership, as well as kindness and empathy towards the horse, and results in mutual respect and teamwork.”
Commander Casey said Navy had also changed its approach to bringing in new officers and sailors and setting them up for long-term success.
Navy’s Recruiting and Entries’ team is working on several projects, including a significant revitalisation of Navy’s Indigenous pathway programs, new strategies for recruiting people from science, technology, engineering and maths backgrounds, and innovative approaches to demonstrating why Navy can be a great career choice for women.
“Another big priority for us is to implement strategies to attract more candidates from regional and remote parts of Australia,” Commander Casey said.
“There’s a large and mostly untapped workforce outside of our capital cities that we aren’t reaching, and that’s a missed opportunity to bring resilient, hardworking and practical people into our Navy.
“That’s something we’re working to change, collaboratively with Defence Force Recruiting and through our own internal initiatives as well.
“Our reach should extend far beyond the geographical locations of recruiting centres.
“Ultimately, we need every officer and sailor to act as an ambassador for the Navy in their hometowns and local communities as this is where the most important ‘recruiting conversations’ happen.”
She said it was an exciting time to be involved in Navy recruitment – and the Recruiting and Entries’ team was looking forward to ‘joining up’ Navy’s future workforce.