Ami and Dion get a flying start with Virgin

Two University of Southern Queensland (USQ) Aviation students are on course for a high-flying career with Virgin Australia after winning a place in the airline’s pilot cadetship program for 2019.

Ami Love and Dion Robert were among 16 cadets to make the cut from thousands of applicants in the highly competitive recruitment process.

The pair will start their training in July. The 54-week program runs from Flight Training Adelaide, where successful cadets graduate with a commercial pilot’s licence and are offered positions as first or second officers with Virgin Australia.  

Ms Love, 19, who started her Bachelor of Aviation at USQ Springfield last year, said she was overwhelmed to receive the cadetship having switched career paths to pursue aviation.

“I’m still a little shocked when I think about, but I am very thankful,” she said.

“Two years ago I was doing gigs and hoping to make a career out of music, now I’m about to start training for the chance to fly for one of the largest airlines in the Asia-Pacific region.

“For a long time, aviation was my second passion but I always thought becoming a commercial pilot was out of my reach – that changed once I started studying at USQ.”

For Mr Robert, it was his grandfather Alan, a former mechanical engineer, who sparked his interest in flying.

“My grandfather has two spitfire engines – a Merlin and a Griffon – at his home and whenever I visited him, he would always be working on them and teach me about what the different parts do,” the 18-year-old said.

“It got me really interested in flying and since then all I have wanted to do is fly planes and become a professional pilot.”

Mr Robert, the 2018 USQ Chancellor’s Scholarship recipient, credits the education and support he has received as part of the University’s Bachelor of Aviation program.

“We’re very lucky we get to operate a 737 flight simulator right here at the Springfield campus in the first year of our degree, and get to learn from lecturers who have many years of experience in the industry,” he said.

“USQ Aviation students are also offered professional development opportunities through the AIRS (Aviation Industry Readiness Scheme) program, participating in leadership activities and networking with industry representatives.”

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