Figuring out what I wanted to do

In high school I focused on doing subjects and activities that I loved and challenged me, however when it came to figuring out what I wanted to do after school, I struggled to focus on something I loved, faced with too many options that I was only somewhat interested in. Then, in senior high school, before commencing my final year, I took notice of the aviation industry and was instantly fascinated. Piloting seemed like an obvious choice and it’s what most people assumed I would do when I revealed that I was considering an aviation career, but it just didn't feel right for me. A Google search lead me to the double degree, Aviation (Management) and Business (International) at Swinburne and after attending the open day and speaking to students and lectures, I was confident in my choice, working toward my goal throughout Year 12. My hard work and determination paid off and I was accepted into my chosen degree; and that feeling of being on the right path grew stronger as I began studying at Swinburne in 2018.

Interestingly, as I was still so unsure around year 10 and 11, I ended up studying a wide range of subjects including Math Methods, Chemistry, Legal Studies and Visual Communications Design. This variety turned out to be a great benefit as my university degree is split across the faculty of science, engineering and technology, and the faculty of business, and requires a range of skills, not just technical.

Walking my path

I am now in my third and final year of studying at university and have an interest in airline operations and safety management. Alongside my academic studies, I’ve been fortunate enough to experience aviation operations around Australia and in five countries overseas! I've visited both major Australian airlines, where I've seen airline operations and flight planning first hand, as well as learnt about Qantas’ maintenance and engineering operations. I visited Melbourne Airport which gave an incredible insight into ground handling procedures and how they’re managing the infrastructure upgrade, as well as the chance to stand on runway 27! Visiting Royal Brunei Airlines and their operations at Melbourne Airport was then a great chance to learn about international airlines and how they manage operations here in Australia.

Finally, at the end of 2019, I travelled overseas, visiting major organisations such as Airbus, Virgin Atlantic, Gatwick Airport, Etihad Airways and Cathay Pacific. This gave a full behind the scenes look at the industry, and was an incredible experience. I am also grateful for a couple of industry mentors, who have constantly guided and supported me. Together these experiences have helped me determine my interests and strengths, giving me direction as I complete my studies and begin my career in the industry.

For this reason, I strongly recommend a proactive attitude. You never know what opportunities you may be given and three years ago I couldn’t have imagined some of the incredible experiences I would have whilst studying. I’m sure there’ll be many more as I look to beginning my career in airline operations and management!


Alana Barber
(If you'd like to find out more about studying aviation at Swinburne University, visit their website.)