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Interview with Aaron Ingram: responding to a changing world of defence

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Aaron Ingram

Interview with Aaron Ingram, Defence Maritime Program Manager

Can you tell us a bit about what’s happening in world of defence in Australia?

It’s an exciting time: the Defence White Paper published earlier this year articulated the Australian Government’s plan for the largest recapitalisation of the Navy since World War Two. This means funding for naval design, manufacturing and sustainment activities in Australia for many years to come.

What does this mean for AMC?

We see real opportunity to help realise the ambitious plans set out in the White Paper. Defence and defence industries will need a substantial increase in maritime engineers, naval architects and logisticians, bespoke training for new equipment and systems, and research undertaken to help develop cutting-edge new vessels. These are areas in which AMC’s expertise and experience complement those that exist within Defence.

What’s your role in realising this?

AMC has a long-standing relationship with Defence—with Navy in particular—and it’s my job to bring all the strands of our training, education, and research activity together into a sustainable program of mutually beneficial activities. I’ve also been working on raising awareness of AMC’s capabilities within Defence, as well as gaining a fuller understanding of Defence needs. We have been pleased to have welcomed the Chief of Navy and the Navy’s Training Authorities for Maritime Warfare and Engineering to AMC as part of this enhanced level of engagement.

What is AMC actually doing differently?

There is a lot underway as we lay the groundwork for a strong collaboration.

We’ve re-invigorated a Training Working Group and expanded its scope to incorporate higher education.  The aims of this forum are to strengthen networks between AMC and the Navy at an organisational level, to identify and realise opportunities for complementary development and undertaking of activities, and assist each other to resolve training and education challenges. Already, we’ve agreed to the provision of lifeboat training for Navy auxiliary ships and to collaborate in the research and development of blended learning initiatives.

A number of other opportunities are being progressed towards agreement, including the attendance at AMC from 2017 of several Navy Marine Technicians, Junior Sailors through to Non-Commissioned Officers, to undertake a range of Certificate, Diploma, Advanced Diploma and Bachelor Degree Courses in Marine Engineering.

In terms of education, we already have a great range of engineering, logistics and specialist maritime courses that are suitable for students considering a career in Defence—whether in the Royal Australian Navy or as a Defence Civilian—as well as for currently serving Defence members. We are working to package up these courses in a more flexible way so that Navy personnel in particular—who may be working at sea for long periods—can better balance their work, study and family commitments.

Finally, in the area of research we already have some brilliant minds utilising world-class facilities: both engaged in tackling Defence related challenges via the ARC Research Training Centre for Naval Design and Manufacturing, and in operationalising new technologies such as Autonomous Underwater Vehicles.  We are strengthening our already longstanding ties with the Defence Science and Technology Group, ready to provide our unique and specialised capabilities to support the creation of the technologically advanced Naval fleet envisaged in the Defence White Paper.

What do you most want to achieve over the next year?

I want to have the range of offerings and the strong Defence ties that will make AMC a major provider of expertise that will be sustainable over the long term. Watch this space!

Professor Neil Bose with the Chief of Navy

Professor Neil Bose with the Chief of Navy, Vice Admiral Barrett

Published on: 30 Nov 2016