Investing in individuals14 October 2019
Scientific. Personalised. Training.
Supported by RSL Queensland, the Human Performance Framework continues to thrive and evolve at 3rd Brigade in Townsville under the command of Brigadier Scott Winter.
Winter was an enthusiastic Australian Defence Force (ADF) recruit, joining on his 17th birthday, with visions of playing Army as a young boy running through his head.
“Which I wouldn’t recommend, because my HSC results suffered accordingly. I just read too many commando comics and I played with toy soldiers growing up,” he joked.
BRIG Winter spent a couple of years in the Army Reserves and was given a scholarship to the ADF Academy. It was the beginning of an extraordinary series of opportunities.
“It seems like only yesterday that I was a young tank troop leader. It’s been a remarkable journey to get to this point.”
Most of his military career was spent with the 1st Armoured Regiment in Darwin, but he also served in East Timor, twice in Afghanistan and with the US Army in Iraq. He also lived overseas in the Netherlands and the United Kingdom.
“I consider myself incredibly fortunate to have one more opportunity to come back and command Australian soldiers as a Brigade Commander here in Townsville in particular, Australia’s true garrison city. I pinch myself every morning,” BRIG Winter said.
Appointed Brigade Commander in November 2017, he will hold the position for two years.
HUMAN PERFORMANCE CENTRE BOOSTS SOLDIERS’ RESILIENCE
A favourite part of BRIG Winter’s role is overseeing the Human Performance Framework – an initiative of the 3rd Brigade and supported by RSL Queensland. The program helps build the physical and mental resilience of its personnel to get the best out of them during and after service.
“I’d like to thank RSL Queensland from the bottom of my heart for what they are doing to help us with some of these initiatives. It’s a natural partnership, because RSL is just as interested in our people as we are,” BRIG Winter said.
The concept was first developed in 2016 with the establishment of the Vasey Resilience Centre (VRC), which aimed to enhance a soldier’s physical, intellectual and character development. It has since evolved into the Human Performance Centre – North Queensland (HPC-NQ), which encompasses the traditional elements of the former VRC and Soldier Recovery Centre, with a renewed focus on self- empowerment.
The HPC-NQ includes scientific and personalised training programs to improve a soldier’s physical capability. It also educates soldiers in injury prevention techniques (both physical and psychological) to enhance their health and wellbeing.
The result is a holistic investment in each soldier, which better prepares them for the rigours of service life; complementing and supporting their civilian life.
The HPC-NQ also established the Advanced Operational Conditioning Program (AOCP). Now available Brigade-wide, the program incorporates innovative strength and conditioning training and imitates how professional athletes and sports teams train for success.
Due to the AOCP’s success, 3rd Brigade is this year embarking on a Defence first – injury prevention intervention. The internationally recognised concept measures and optimises human performance, identifying injury risk profiles and addressing biometric weaknesses to improve their physical potential and career longevity.
CENTRE CATERS FOR ALL STAGES OF A SOLDIER’S CAREER
Major Simon Bowen, OIC Human Performance Centre, said there are two distinct groups at the centre.
The health and wellbeing group involves a return to work program and transition support program. “We help them understand chronic injury management as well as grip up some of the lifestyle factors that they’re going to expect when they return to their units or leave Defence,” MAJ Bowen explained.
The ready and resilience group is a peak performance program, also known as a prehabilitation program for soldiers early in their career.
“We’re trying to build up the physical, intellectual and character resilience in all those three domains,” MAJ Bowen said.
BRIG Winter wishes the program existed when he was coming through the ranks.
“We wouldn’t be carrying so many aches and pains if we had some of the opportunities in that regard.
“This is far more targeted physical training within an ethical framework, empowering our people to look after themselves, and not be on receive mode when it comes to some of this learning,” he said.
The program is getting positive results and BRIG Winter said recruits appreciate the Army investing in them as individuals. It is an ever-evolving landscape as the ADF grapples with how best to invest in its greatest resource – it’s people.
Sapper Nick Carles from 3CER found the reset module run by the psychologist particularly beneficial.
“It was really good to think about how my brain functions and what I was doing in different situations and have a better understanding of that and be able to control it better,” SPR Carles said.
“Whether it’s physical or mental, we’ve learned a lot about how we can help people to get back on the horse and we’ve learned a lot about how to help our people transition to life after wearing the uniform,” BRIG Winter said.
“The most remarkable thing is the calibre of our young people. I know sometimes that can sound a bit like a throwaway line, but the young officers and young soldiers coming through today are remarkable young Australians,” BRIG Winter said.
BRIGADE IN RESET PHASE
The Brigade is currently in the reset phase of the force generation cycle, which means they have a greater focus on individual skills and resilience. When Queensland RSL News spoke to BRIG Winter in late 2018 it had recently welcomed home the last of its contingents from the Middle East.
“It’s fantastic to actually have all the members of our Brigade back in that regard. There’ll be a fair few families there that are enjoying having their mums, dads, brothers and sisters around a fair bit more,” BRIG Winter said.
“It is a time for people to recharge their batteries, enjoy some team sports, enjoy the fantastic, supportive community that we have up here in Townsville, before we then start the cycle again and get busy all over again.”