• The aim of the Navy Mastery program is to create a skilled, effective and sustainable workforce. (Supplied)
    The aim of the Navy Mastery program is to create a skilled, effective and sustainable workforce. (Supplied)

The Royal Australian Navy publicly launched its Navy Mastery programme at Indo Pacific last week, aimed at developing a modern, flexible and innovative approach to its training and development continuum.

Speaking to ADM at the Indo Pacific Exhibition, Director Navy Workforce Strategy and Futures Captain Virginia Hayward said the Navy Mastery program has been designed to cater for the planned growth of the Navy to around 21,000 people in the 2035-2040 timeframe and aims to create a skilled, effective and sustainable workforce.

“We need a framework of personal and professional development to match that new growth,” CAPT Hayward explained. “For many years we’ve concentrated on the competency and technical skills of our sailors, but what Mastery is all about is recognising that we serve in the maritime domain; we then teach people their technical skills, underpinned by social mastery - which is achieving results with and through the people.”

The Navy Mastery process comprises three elements: Maritime Mastery, the understanding of core individual requirements to generate capability at sea; Technical Mastery, the specialised technical competence within each career stream; and Social Mastery, described by CAPT Hayward as “The development and application of emotional and social competence to generate high-functioning individuals and teams who achieve results with and through people.” All three Mastery elements are equal and important. 

Within each element there are four levels: Foundation, Intermediate, Advanced and Master, in alignment with the Dreyfus and Dreyfus ‘Model of Skill Acquisition’ developed in the US. The program is designed to manage an individual’s career from recruitment to retirement and ensure that they have the skills and competence necessary to progress through each level of their career.

“Navy Mastery is the process of progressively acquiring, through learning, practice and mentoring, comprehensive knowledge and skill in a specific domain, together with the ability to apply it intuitively,” CAPT Hayward said.

“The model sets the direction and standard for what we want our people to do – that is to be a mariner, to be good at what they do, and to work and lead as part of a high-functioning team.”

The work began with Navy’s warfare community in January 2020 and the Navy Mastery System (NMS) was formally launched in July 2021. CAPT Hayward said the new mastery career pathways will be designed for the logistics, personnel and engineering communities of the Navy in the 2022-2023 timeframe and beyond that there is the possibility to develop similar pathways across the ADF. 

“There will be new learning opportunities and new ways of training people and that will take a while. We’re starting to assess our people through recording their social mastery performance, but we talk about mastery through lifelong learning and that has to come with different ways of training and learning as well,” CAPT Hayward explained. “This includes a combination of structured learning, second-hand learning and learning by doing.

“That means mentoring and coaching, supported industry outplacements, micro learning, exercises and deployments. We want to build new careers, work with industry and prepare our people for more complex roles so they can have more flexible careers.”

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