Where did you grow up? Can you talk us through your journey into this industry?
After spending a year on exchange in Costa Rica during year 10, where the only subject not requiring decent Spanish was physics, my interest in STEM subjects was sparked. I attended high school in Sydney, taking Maths, Physics, English, Spanish and Italian in my HSC. Entering University I always wanted to be an academic, so I chose a Bachelor of Science with a Physics major and quickly learnt that to be a physicist, I needed to be at least an average mathematician and changed to a double major. After graduating, my dream of academia had faded and I was unsure what to do next.
During my degree, I had worked in pubs and decided to take a year off to work and travel and see what happened. At some point during this year, the idea of studying engineering was suggested or occurred to me (I can’t remember). I enrolled again at Sydney University in a Bachelor of Engineering (Aerospace). Until this point, I had no particular interest in planes beyond a standard fascination (I now have 2 plane tattoos).
During my engineering degree my love of planes and aviation, in general, developed into a career goal. I did a 6-month internship in France with Airbus during 2017 then came back to complete my honours year. Seeing the Beluga land in Toulouse on my lunch break probably sealed the deal.
How did you get your current job position?
Early in 2018 a friend of mine was applying to the Jetstar Pilot Cadetship, I googled the cadetship and came across the Jetstar Graduate Program so decided to apply!
How did you choose your specialisation? Were you weighing up any alternatives before choosing this specialisation?
The Jetstar Graduate Program is a generalist program. You are rotated into various teams across two years doing a variety of roles within the aviation industry. For me, I had an interest in aeronautical engineering but was keen to gain broader experience in other parts of the industry.
What was the interview process like? What kind of questions were asked?
It was the middle of week 12, fourth-year uni and I flew down at 6 am on a Thursday for the assessment centre. Aside from being tired I remember the other grads and the people from within Jetstar that were there to facilitate. So much of what makes a job fun and fulfilling is the people you work with and the impression left on me by those people was very positive.
We had to do a group activity, working through one of the many complications that arise daily in the aviation industry. Then a small individual task looking at some data and making a business recommendation. We then had a short, informal chat with one of the facilitators, talking through what we wanted from the program and longer-term goals -it wasn’t at all intimidating. From there we had an individual interview with two Jetstar managers, talking through a combination of high-level ideas for the future of Jetstar and other usual interview questions.
What does your employer do?
Jetstar is a low-cost carrier that aims to offer low airfares to make flight accessible to more people, more often.
What are your areas of responsibility?
The team I work in manages the entry into service of a new model of aircraft that Jetstar has purchased. This means coordinating all the readiness activities of almost all operational and commercial departments in Jetstar. My day to day work consists of mostly project management work, with a variety of tasks thrown in as various teams need support.
Can you describe a typical workday? What was the last thing you worked on?
There is nothing typical when working in a project management role, or most roles within Jetstar.
The workplace is very flexible, but I tend to arrive between 7.30 – 8.30 am. From there I would check my email and have a look what is on for the day. A bit after 9 am we tend to get a coffee then settle in for the day: meetings, analysis, workshops. Or some days, something just pops up and you spend your day on that. The most recent thing I worked on was defining the weight and balance zones for the new aircraft and ensuring that regardless of the number of people on board we assign seats to get a balances distribution across the cabin.
What are the career prospects with your job? Where could you or others in your position go from here?
The program is designed to set you up for a role within Jetstar. One of the strongest attributes of the Jetstar graduate alumni is an understanding of different business units and how they fit together.
What would your career be if you weren’t doing what you’re doing now?
I think I would be doing my PhD, and I still might!
What do you love most about your job? Which kind of tasks do you enjoy the most?
The variety of work and my colleagues. I love being able to spend all day in Excel with headphones on, , and then the next day be in a workshop with 10 people nutting out an issue. I also enjoy the staff travel benefits
Do you bear a lot of responsibility? Are stress levels high?
At Jetstar, it’s really up to you. As a grad you don’t have an explicit PD - You make your own role in each rotation. This can be a challenge at times as you need to seek the parts of the work that interest you, but you are given ownership and responsibility when you do.
In terms of stress, Aviation can be a fast-moving place to work. The people at Jetstar are great at managing this and it rubs off, even in challenging times the atmosphere is rarely stressful.
What three pieces of advice would you give to a current university student?
Personal connections and being easy to work with are more important in the workplace than at university. Remembering that there will inevitably be a variety of people you need to collaborate with and is good at doing that will be an asset.
When leaving university, you are not a ‘grad’. You were hired as an employee so you should feel like you can make your contribution heard while being respectful of other people’s experience and skills.
You will be confused and make mistakes at times. Don’t underestimate other people’s understanding and willingness to help. Be open and curious, asking a good question is just as respected as having an answer.