The careers of CQUniversity's aviation graduates are ready to take off with increasing global demand for newly qualified pilots
Boeing's recent Pilot and Technician Outlook report projected a long-term aviation shortage over the next 20 years' forecasting more than 612 000 new pilots will be needed to fly and maintain the global commercial fleet' 108 000 of these within the Asia-Pacific region.
This is good news for aspiring pilot Lachlan Crocker who is one of 14 students graduating from CQUniversity's first cohort of Bachelor of Aviation (Flight Operations) this year.
"I decided to study aviation because of the challenge. That coupled with my love for going on aircraft and travelling made it the perfect fit'" Lachlan said.
"It excites me to see so many possible job prospects out there for myself and my peers. I haven't secured a job yet; however' it would be great to build up my experience in the commercial sector."
The Cairns resident said in the long term he hopes to utilise his aviation experience in a way where he can give back to his community.
"My end goal is to fly for Search and Rescue. I'd love to fly on special sessions and help the community while integrating my love for the ocean."
CQU Head of Aviation Professor Doug Drury said this next generation of pilots will be crucial to bolstering the Australian aviation industry and supporting post-pandemic recovery.
"The industry is wholly dependent on investment into newly qualified personnel to replace those who have left or will soon exit the industry.
"At CQUniversity' we are working to support the Australian Government Aviation Recovery Framework which has identified a strong need to develop a sustainable pipeline of aviation professionals."
He explained that addressing the needs of the aviation industry will require a responsive' resilient and innovative talent pool established through the delivery of world-class higher education and training.
"Recently we introduced a new Airline and Airport Operations major to the Bachelor of Aviation in order to provide a comprehensive insight into the industry'" Professor Drury said.
"This specialised management focus prepares graduates for the dynamic and highly complex nature of aviation operations including airline and airport economics' air freight and air traffic management' finance' marketing' resource management' strategic leadership and risk assessment."
As recovery progresses and the aviation landscape continues to change and improve' Professor Drury believes this is a prime opportunity for the industry to take a transformative and proactive agenda by getting more women into the cockpit.
It is hoped that these advancements' paired with CQUni's inclusive philosophy and highly experienced teaching staff' will result in a steady increase of female aviation students and graduates over the coming years' bolstering the Australian aviation industry.
"It is now broadly recognised that gender diversity brings innovation and different skill sets to industry and the workplace'" Prof Drury said.
"Globally' just over 5 per cent of commercial pilots are female. Attracting and training more female aviation professionals will be key to meeting future skills demand and securing a better' brighter future for this industry."
With her career on the horizon' second-year aviation student Hannah Wells said she can't wait to become a pilot in the near future and encouraged other women to follow her lead.
"For as long as I can remember' aviation has been the number one passion of mine.
"I absolutely love anything and everything to do with aeroplanes. My friends and family even call me the walking encyclopedia of planes' especially commercial airliners'" she said.
"As a young woman in a traditionally male-dominated industry' not once during my training at CQU have I ever felt out of place! I want to let every future pilot know that you will be supported the whole way through every stage of your training.
"I can only encourage more women to earn their wings. If aviation is also your passion' the sky is the limit."
Hannah urged young people with an interest in flying to explore the world of opportunities available within the sector.
"Becoming a pilot isn't easy. It's a labour of love' consistent' hard work but the outcome is so rewarding in the end'" Hannah said.
"My plan once I graduate is that I get into the airlines. I love big airliners such as the A380' which both Qantas and Emirates operate.
"I also wouldn't mind flying for a cargo airline. Even though air travel might take some time to pick up the pace post-covid' there will always be demand for cargo pilots."