Project number: 2016-148
Project Status:
Budget expenditure: $230,000.00
Principal Investigator: Tony Baker
Organisation: Huon Aquaculture Group Ltd
Project start/end date: 19 Jun 2017 - 30 Mar 2019


Huon has identified through employee interviews a need to focus on developing our current and future leader’s skill sets. Many of our Leaders hold extensive Aquaculture qualifications however many have not participated in Leader specific development nor are aware of career succession pathways. Furthermore, should an employee have an idea to make an improvement or better utilise a tool of trade/technology they don’t know who to share the idea with.

For Huon to be equipped for the future a focus and plan is needed now.
As outlined in the FRDC People Development Program (2008-2013), the following points are still relevant in the aquaculture industry and present at Huon:
• There is a shortage of industry leaders in all sectors of the aquaculture industry;
• The aquaculture industry has a poor performance in the uptake of formal training, and apprenticeships;
• The aquaculture industry will need to learn from other industries that have embraced a knowledge and innovation culture; and
• Existing leadership programs are inaccessible to most, either through limited availability or expensive course fees.

To address these opportunities Huon wants to invest in introducing an innovation and new ideas program. This will create the governance around structuring ideas and nurture employee’s innovation. This will additionally enable employees to feel comfortable expressing their ideas knowing there is a systematic approach applied to all requests received and reviewed.

The Aquaculture Leaders Program will be designed specifically around enhancing current Leadership capability, providing the leader cohort with skills in managing team performance and motivating employees by the introduction of coaching standards. Generally, random acts of training across an organisation fail. If no behavioural growth practises are developed. This will be an important consideration in the design of the training program so that the new learning is embedded. Furthermore, to ensure that training decay doesn’t occur, a set of post training accountability activities will be developed to encourage application of skills post training.


1. To develop an Aquaculture Leaders Program that will not only upskill leaders but strategically plan future leader succession.
2. Furthermore, create an environment at Huon where idea generation is streamlined and all ideas for process improvement, cost reduction savings or new ways of working are reviewed and managed by a dedicated approach.
3. The Program will be focused on designing training content to:• Strengthen leaders to the next revolution in people leadership
• Extract value from the leadership workforce by empowering them with new skills to motivate and influence their people
• Create an Aquaculture Leaders Program that is industry specific and contextualised
• Design and implement a development pathway for current and future industry leaders
• Strengthen leader’s skill sets in managing teams, change resilience, personal performance and leadership fundamentals
• Implementing an Innovation Program and designing the appropriate support framework to automate and operationalise it
and• Define and develop a Leader Succession Program to strategically place Industry leaders of the future.

Final report

ISBN: 978-0-646-80871-0
Author: Natalie Chee Quee
Final Report • 2019-11-15 • 1.04 MB


The following report has been developed by Huon Aquaculture as a summary of findings from the ‘Assessing the people and capability framework for the aquaculture industry’ project. 
This project is of huge importance for Huon and the aquaculture industry as a whole, as it explores leadership and people development, especially where the report’s findings will be embedded or operationalised within an organisation.
The findings from this project provide insights into the key learnings identified in the project facilitated by Huon.
Some key findings include:
  • Design of resilient people and leadership development frameworks to support constantly evolving and changing roles;
  • The importance of engagement and understanding leadership motivation;
  • Operationalising a leadership program across multifunctional teams, the learnings and skill sets;
  • Establishing a transferable Succession Planning Framework to meet future skill requirements with a significant focus on leadership competencies;
  • Developing a retention strategy and career pathways program;
  • How a workforce can operationalise innovation; and
  • Lessons learnt from this project.
Results/key findings 
Future leadership development programs often require a change in organisational culture and seamless change is notoriously difficult to deliver, so senior leader commitment was crucial to the project, especially when staff were taken away from business as usual. 
Facilitating a Leadership Program within an organisation also requires consultation on training with minimal operational impact. This point required maximum attendance and the Huon Leaders Program achieved attendance rates just short of 100%. This attendance rate is testament to the enthusiasm of participants and their proactive engaging in all content. 
Introducing a Leadership Program is not a one-off activity, it needs to be strategically placed into the people development cycle within an organisation. In Huon’s case, the Leader Development Program will continue to evolve as leaders across the organisation provide feedback and share their developmental needs. Huon have also asked for an emerging leaders’ program, so team members can be developed at an early stage of their career. To continue the growth of leaders, post the Leaders Program is a robust Succession Planning Framework to stretch and grow leader skill sets.
The project resulted in Huon gaining increased self-awareness and leadership skills from the existing workforce, whilst also helping to revitalise innovation across the organisation. 

The Innovation Program enables Huon to connect with all employees and provide them with an avenue to innovate and help build Huon and the aquaculture industry. 

Implications for relevant stakeholders
  • People development frameworks require Executive Team support to ensure the programs are embedded into the organisation. In Huon’s instance, the work was interconnected, therefore project management and stakeholder management were key when facilitating the project.
  • Traditionally, employees have undertaken training aligned to some form of certification. In this instance, the focus often shifts to assignment completion and not on using the new skills learned. The Huon Leaders Program was focused on operationalising learning and providing tools and approaches to leading teams able to be immediately applied. 
  • Succession Planning frameworks and career pathways require maintenance and ongoing commitment from the Human Resources Team to oversee and manage the work. Simply deploying any framework across an organisation will therefore be insufficient.
  • Innovative workplaces should be encouraged with Innovation Programs to provide an exceptional platform to foster on-going innovation. Without the introduction of structure and rigour within any Innovation Program, this may affect the organisations engagement and culture. 
This project resulted in a number of frameworks for industry partners to review and adopt 
however, spending time reflecting on existing processes and practises is critical to success.

The programs are designed so others can use, accepting this should be contextualised to an 

Consideration to other internal people development activities and their alignments is an important element, leadership development is not a stand-alone activity. 
There are additional materials that were developed for this project, should anyone wish to obtain these please contact the FRDC. 

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