Stewart soars after graduating with dual aviation qualifications

30 August 2023
A photo of a man in graduation gown and cap standing at a podium
CQU Perth aviation graduate Stewart Hollands delivers the Graduates’ Representative speech

At 18, Stewart Hollands experienced air travel for the first time, starting a journey to train to become a pilot and, thanks to CQUniversity, he crossed the stage at the recent Perth Graduation Ceremony one step closer to his dream.

Stewart shared his story with hundreds of other graduates on 22 August by having the honour of being the Graduates’ Representative Speaker at the ceremony.

“When I was 18, I flew on an Airbus A330 – still my favourite aircraft – only a pilot would understand, but I’ll never forget the feeling of the first time I became airborne and soon I realised I was destined to become a pilot,” he told the graduates.

Stewart told the graduates that eventually he discovered CQU’s aviation courses and quickly enrolled, citing that it was “one of the best decisions” he’d ever made.

He completed two courses – a Bachelor of Aviation (Flight Operations) and a Graduate Diploma of Aviation (Flight Operations) while working full-time.

“There are a few things that motivated me to become a pilot. Firstly, the idea of being in command of such a complex machine always appealed to me, like a lot of children, I had a dream of becoming a pilot, but it wasn’t until I flew for the first time that I realised that I should seriously consider it,” he said.

A photo of a man dressed in pilot attire standing in front of a light airplane
Stewart and one of the light aircraft he trained on

He said his general enjoyment of airports, science and physics were also factors, along with his genuine desire to help people get where they wanted to be.

“I am not yet employed as a pilot, but I am currently working towards one of the CQU graduate pathways,” he said.

“Skytrans is a local Cairns Airline partnered with CQU and offers aviation graduates an opportunity to fly with them and further develop their skills. I am hoping to gain employment with them and relocate from Perth to Cairns soon.”

He said he felt CQU’s training would put him in good stead for employment.

“The Bachelor of Aviation coupled with the Graduate Diploma of Aviation gave me the ability to learn theoretical concepts and then apply it immediately in a practical setting,” he said.

“The research assessments that I completed during the Graduate Diploma also helped me to develop critical thinking skills which I think is essential to a pilot.”

“CQU offers a quality aviation program that provides students with the opportunity to develop the skills required as a professional pilot. Students graduate with everything required by a major airline except for the hour requirements and is delivered flexibly from anywhere in the country. The pathways and industry connections that CQU offers are also a significant reason for people to study with CQU.”

He added that speaking at the Perth graduation was such an honour and privilege. 

“I felt like it was one of my most significant achievements. The message I wanted to convey to my fellow graduates was to be proud of their achievements, to think about why they chose to study at CQU, and what this opportunity has allowed them to achieve,” he said.

“For some of us, CQU offered the only pathway that would allow us to gain a qualification and I think it is important that we reflect on that.”