RAAF WINGs Program
As part of the work of Air Force Workforce Diversity, last year DGPERS-AF trialled a new program called Women’s Integrated Networking Groups (WINGs) at Williamtown. The WINGs program was developed as a direct result from feedback received during focus groups held by DGPERS-AF with Air Force women. The WINGs program is a facilitated networking program, designed to specifically meet the needs of Air Force women. Following the successful trial of the WINGs program at WLM last year, we are now rolling the program out to other Air Force bases in 2012.
The program has been developed to meet CDF’s mandate that each service deliver a mentoring program for women under his Action Plan for the Recruitment and Retention of Women which was introduced in 2007. The action plan originated from CDF’s strong desire to encourage higher numbers of women to join the ADF, progress their careers and remain in Service for long enough to reach the highest echelons of the ADF. CDF has acknowledged that the services need to do more to support women throughout their careers, and mentoring and networking programs are just one of the many outcomes generated from CDF’s Action Plan.
WINGs is a 10-month program with a 2-hour facilitated session each second month; held over lunch periods to minimise impact on units. The program offers the chance to hear from invited guest speakers from within Defence and external organisations about issues affecting you and your career, with a dedicated theme for each session. By way of example, Assistant Commissioner Carlene York, Commander Northern Region NSW Police presented at WLM’s opening session, where she spoke to AF women about leading in a male-dominated work environment and her career challenges and highlights. The program also provides the opportunity to discuss issues affecting you in the workplace, whilst also creating networks (and hopefully friendships) with Air Force women from your geographical location. We already saw this networking happening informally during the focus groups, which was really encouraging. This contact and networking is even more important when you are separated from the workplace through MATL, LWOP, LWOPASM or for reserve members.