Getting the most out of your aviation degree
Are you passionate about aviation but not sure what to expect with studying an Aviation degree? Second year Bachelor of Aviation student, Jefin Joseph shares his own experience and tips on how to get the most out of your degree.
Why did you choose to study Aviation?
When I received the offer to study a Bachelor of Aviation at Griffith, I was ecstatic, thrilled and genuinely content. Of course, I immediately accepted the offer, after all this is all I have ever wanted to do. And yes I had to persuade my Indian parents that I would not be going down the typical pathway of Medicine, Engineering or IT. Instead, I was willing to learn more about something I was super passionate about and could not get enough of.
I would be that weird kid who would look into the sky whenever I could hear something fly overhead and made sure everyone knew that it was a Qantas Airbus A330-300 from Hong Kong flying past us. I knew studying Aviation at Griffith would be my best shot at preparing myself to work in the aviation industry, especially since the university has over 25 years of experience in the aviation education along with the most reputed courses in the nation.
What can students look forward to throughout the year?
Alongside your lectures and tutorials, there are numerous volunteering opportunities and fun events that pop up. I highly recommend to attend as many events as possible and become more engaged throughout the program.
I was fortunate enough to fly an F-18 simulator when the Griffith University Aviation Association (GUAvA) organised the RAAF to bring in their Mobile Flight Simulator. Look, my landing was not the best, I crashed a billion-dollar jet, but that is why we all practice on a simulator first. I was also given the unique opportunity to mentor three students over three days and provide them with the chance to meet with industry professionals from well-known companies like Qantas Engineering, QantasLink, Royal Flying Doctor Service, Dnata Catering, Airbus Helicopters and Basair.
In Trimester 2, our amazing lecturer for Airways Operations and Design (Marilyn) provided us with an exciting and rare opportunity to tour the Airservices Centre for Brisbane Airport. We were fortunate enough to visit the Enroute Simulator, the Operations Room, the Technical Operations Centre and, of course, the Control Tower.
The Griffith University Soaring Society (GUSS) also held numerous social and gliding camps throughout the year. The Society managed to get us discounted student tickets to the Fright Night at Movie World which was fantastic as we all needed to unwind a bit after all the studying and hard work, we had been putting in.
Through our MATES program, quite a few of us also had the one in a lifetime opportunity to become research participants for a study conducted by Boeing about training methods for pilots. That was just a short insight into what you can look forward. If you want to get most out of your program, I stress enough how important it is that you apply yourself as much as you can; the more effort you put in, the more you will get out of it.
What is the Aviation MATES program?
What kept me motivated in achieving my goals were the weekly MATES (Mentoring Aviators Through Educational Support) sessions held on Wednesday afternoons. The whole cohort would stride onto campus in their Aviation uniform, bringing a sense of belonging especially to first-year students and catching the attention of onlookers who were astounded by our presence.
During Little MATES we would attend a small yet impactful personal development workshop session in our Flight Groups led by Flight Leaders who were also students (second/third years). Big MATES would involve a presentation from an industry professional ranging from aircraft engineering and Defence to aviation management and operations control. This would always be the highlight of my week. Personally, by going to MATES I have learned a lot about the aviation industry and the wide array of pathways that is out there by meeting some amazing speakers. This program has truly been able to bridge that gap between the classroom and the industry.
How can students become a part of the MATES Leadership team?
Before applying to study aviation I remember attending the information session and having a chat with Kimberly Carew – the Chief Student Pilot for 2018. She inspired me to aim for the sky and develop new skills by exposing yourself to as many new things as possible. This is exactly what I did throughout the program and applied for various positions such a Student Mentor for the Aviation Flight Camp that was organised by two inspirational second years.
After successfully passing the rigorous selection process, I was given the unique opportunity to mentor three high school students for three days. This not only helped me in developing a whole new skill set but enabled me to apply further my leadership and interpersonal skills that I had already developed throughout high school.
There will be numerous opportunities throughout the year for you to develop your skills and demonstrate your ability lead, and it’s how you embrace these opportunities that matter the most. This year I was fortunate enough to be appointed as the Representative of the Bachelor of Aviation to be the voice of aviation students by providing a platform for new ideas and change along with academic support and professional development. Not only do I look forward to being more involved in the program but also thrilled to help my fellow peers achieve their academic and professional goals.
What do the employability and career prospects look like in the industry?
During the first year of my degree, I was very fortunate to be successfully employed by a Ground Handling Company at Brisbane International Airport and work with two major Asian airlines. This was not my first job though. I had worked in the Fast Food industry from the age of 13. I had been able to gain a lot of various experiences by volunteering and hosting numerous events throughout the wider community.
When employers are looking to hire, they look for people who have a wide array of skills, those who are passionate and have developed excellent communication and problem-solving skills through experience. By being actively involved in your university life, you can boost your chances of employability and meet some amazing people who can help you achieve your dreams.
Final words of advice?
‘Nana korobi, ya oki’ is a Japanese proverb that literally means “Fall down seven times, stand up eight”. If there is one thing, I would like you all to take from this, it would be to never stop trying even when times get tough. Tough times never last but tough people do.