What appealed to you about UNSW and your degree?
I was lucky enough to travel growing up, with my Dad having worked for Qantas. I loved to sit on the window by the wing and would ask way too many questions about why that part moves or why it was shaped a certain way. When I was in high school I wanted to become a doctor because I had a real interest in science, especially psychology around the areas of human factors. I was looking into a general science degree or psychology program but always had a real interest in Aviation. My decision came down to that I could have either completed one of these individual courses or a degree in Aviation which combines everything I have an interest in! My Dad completed his Master’s degree at UNSW and considering his positive experience it was the obvious choice.
What is the most valuable thing you took away from your time at UNSW?
The fact that so many of our teachers were based in the industry meant that everything we were being taught was relevant to what was going on in the Aviation Industry today. As we completed the curriculum we were hearing from aviation experts teaching us the theoretical components 'by the book'. However, we were also being taught that in real world application, this is slightly different and being able to understand how theory can be adapted in reality has been invaluable throughout my career.
Where has your career taken you?
I began my career at the Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS) in an administration role whilst I was in my final year of university. I learnt so much during my time at the RFDS and was able to transition into a safety and systems role. I then moved into the Air Force as a Management Quality and Assurance Officer where I worked on projects surrounding Business Management Systems development and implementation. These roles allowed me to develop a broad scope of skills which I was only able to accumulate being at a smaller company. This was so much so that when I applied for my role at Jetstar, one of the comments made throughout the interview process was "have you actually done everything on your resume?". My most recent aviation role was with JetStar as a Safety Integration Specialist.
All of my subjects (even the ones I never thought I would use) have been extremely relevant throughout my career.
What innovations do you think the industry needs?
I believe that there needs to be more innovation in terms of making travel seem safer to the general public. It has been proven that it is safe to fly in the current circumstances of COVID-19 although consumer confidence is at an all-time low. I believe that through design innovation and education for the general public, domestic tourism and travel will be able to recover and not be impacted as much in the future.
What would your advice be for those currently studying or considering the study of Aviation at UNSW?
The biggest piece of advice is to not be afraid that there is no work within the industry. I was completing my degree in the aftermath of the Global Financial Crisis and was receiving mixed messages as to what was actually out there. I knew I wanted to work in safety and human factors, but I was also aware of the limited speciality roles available. I knew I wouldn’t walk straight out of university into my dream role, so I went into administration and it was the best thing I ever did. I learnt so much and picked up so many skills I wouldn’t have if I had gone straight into my dream speciality role.