I am currently a first year student at the University of Southern Queensland studying a Bachelor of Aviation (Flight Operations). While I’ve always had an interest in aviation – after being fascinated at a young age with the work of my grandfather building aeroplane engines for Rolls-Royce – having a career as a pilot had never seemed like a possibility.
Last year, I decided to follow my passion and pursue a career in aviation by enrolling in the Bachelor of Aviation at USQ. The degree at USQ has students undertaking aviation-specific courses from day one, with the opportunity to choose flight operations and learn to fly at a flight school (within the university degree) and also in the university’s first class simulator.
An extremely beneficial part of the degree is the personal development program embedded throughout. This gives students the chance to learn from current aviation professionals such as military and airline pilots through to aviation management professionals; giving us the chance to best prepare and succeed in an aviation career.
Studying aviation at USQ has presented many opportunities including undertaking work experience with QantasLink and the opportunity to apply for the Virgin Australia Ab-initio Cadetship, which, if I’m fortunate enough to be accepted, would see me employed with Virgin Australia as a commercial pilot at age 21.
The Virgin Australia Ab-initio Cadetship means that successful candidates can look forward to an exciting career as a pilot with the Virgin Australia team upon completion of the 59-week residential course based at Parafield Airport, near Adelaide and is designed for candidates to achieve a Commercial Pilot License (CPL), Multi Engine Command Instrument Rating (ME CIR), as well as study the ground theory subjects for an Airline Transport Pilot License (ATPL), Upset Prevention and Recovery Training (UPRT) and a Multi Crew Cooperation (MCC) Qualification program.
When applying for this cadetship, I didn’t have high expectations about the outcome – being only 19 and with almost no prior flying or aviation knowledge other than a single semester of university.
The selection process began with an initial application submitted online, followed by a video application for shortlisted candidates. Following the video applications, candidates were further shortlisted and I was lucky enough to be invited to attend an Assessment Day at the Boeing Simulator Centre in Brisbane which included PILAPT and academic testing, group interviews and one-on-one interviews. Approximately 30 candidates are shortlisted for the final panel interview stage, and I am fortunate to be one of them. Then 12 final candidates will be chosen for cadetships.
It is so important to make sure you are as best prepared as possible for opportunities like this, by making sure you are familiar with the company you are applying to(from routes, to aircraft fleet, to businesses within the company). While passion is one of the biggest factors in succeeding in the aviation industry, it is not just a matter of saying you have the passion, but showing it.
Though this cadetship is an Ab-initio cadetship requiring zero previous experience, I believed that undertaking some flying would be beneficial for giving me some personal experience and for continuing to develop my love and passion for aviation. So I set about researching flight schools so I could obtain my Recreational Pilot Certificate.
While GoFly Aviation is not the closest flight school to where I live, I decided to begin my flying with them and I couldn’t be happier. I will be forever thankful for all that the school and the instructors have taught me. It has truly helped my love and passion for aviation continue to soar.
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