The Joint Warfare Centre (JWC) concluded this year’s Newcomers' Training Programme on 25 August, welcoming 50 new staff members and their families to the organization. More specific on-the-job divisional training followed and will continue until 1 September.
"The week-long training was a part of a broader initiative to focus on integrating JWC’s new staff as quickly as possible in preparation for the busy fall exercise schedule. We were lucky to have a number of engaged and experienced briefers who brought their knowledge and enthusiasm to their presentations,” remarked Paul Sewell, responsible for JWC’s organizational development and culture work. He was also responsible for facilitating this year’s training programme.
“The newcomers were eager to learn about what the JWC has to offer and how they could contribute. That said, this year all JWC staff were invited as an opportunity to refresh their own knowledge on some of the more complex topic areas.”
Overall, the Newcomers' Training has the goal of preserving mission effectiveness by facilitating a smooth transition for all incoming staff members; introducing them to their new workplace environment and providing an understanding of JWC’s key role and mission as NATO’s premier training and warfare establishment.
“Essentially, the training is a blended programme; different from the traditional ‘death by Power Point’ approach used in the past,” explained Sewell. “Aside from the JWC foundational and specific function briefs, this year included a hands-on session, walking the newcomers through NATO’s Exercise Planning Process using experienced staff from each of the key areas.”
The key areas included topics such as an overview of JWC-led exercises and training events, joint warfare development, new concepts and support to the development and integration of joint operational doctrine, lessons learned and NATO Crisis Response Planning, Information and Knowledge Management, media simulation and Computer and Information Systems. Additional briefers were also introduced from the Public Affairs Office (PAO), security, finance and health and safety organization.
Sewell said simply acquiring knowledge alone was not enough for the integration of the newcomers. “We also held a JWC Sports Day, which was an important team-building opportunity for the entire organization. It’s necessary to focus on building the human connections within the staff, particularly the newcomers, who will be working closely together over the next three years.”
Sewell then cited the use of a remote polling tool as one of the improvements this year.
“The audience members were each given a small remote controller with response buttons. This technology can provide immediate feedback to the briefer. During the programme, it was used in a number of ways. For example, to capture demographics of the staff (such as number of years in post or specific experience); to ask questions to see how much the audience understood about the topics and also gathering an understanding of their perspectives at the same time. This is because each newcomer brings perspective and skills to the JWC that are unique.”
The JWC is a multi-national and multi-service NATO organization with 254 military and civilian personnel from 15 NATO Nations: Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Spain, Romania, Turkey, the United Kingdom and the United States.
The Centre is responsible for planning and executing the operational-level training in NATO.
“Basically, the newcomers were thrown into the deep end this week and they took the challenge head on,” Sewell said, adding: “Major General Andrzej Reudowicz, Commander JWC, in his opening remarks asked them to suspend their judgement about the JWC for the first six months and learn how things work here first. They have to ask many questions that start with ‘why’ in order to understand our mission, contribute to the organizational goals and our ‘One Team’ culture most effectively.”
JWC's new Senior Enlisted Advisor
Meanwhile, on 22 August, U.S. Navy Rear Admiral Brad Skillman, JWC Deputy Commander and Chief of Staff, introduced the Centre’s new Senior Enlisted Advisor, French Army Chief Master Sergeant Philippe Devichi.
Chief Master Sergeant Philippe Devichi last served at the French Ministry of Defence Office of the Chief of Staff. “I am excited to be working with Chief Master Sergeant Devichi and believe he will be value added not only to our NCO’s, but to the entire command,” Rear Admiral Skillman noted in his welcoming remarks.
Comments from the Newcomers:
“The training briefings clarified very well the workings of the JWC.” Cdr Wayne Ubhi, Exercise Planner (GBR N)
“The training was both engaging and interactive. The instructors encouraged real-time interaction often, which made even the most complex presentation easier.” Lt Col Fatih Bostanci, Head Quality Assurance Branch (TUR A)
“The training was enlightening, but at the same time a bit concerning because, clearly, there is a lot to do.” Lt Cdr Paul Everard, Exercise Planner (GBR N)
“The topics were all relevant and interesting. I am excited to be working at the JWC as part of the Quality Assurance Branch.” Lt Col Robert Polak, Observer/Trainer, Exercise Planner (POL A)
"It is hard to teach experience, but the senior instructors shared as many Lessons Learned as they had, so that we weren't left feeling like we are starting from scratch." Cdr Patrick "Sweaty" Boyce, Exercise Planner (USA AF)
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