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Ready for take-off: 28 students on runway to success

Student Mason Barratt (front left) in class with Aviation Australia instructor Bernie Lagas, Mayor Teresa Harding, TAE Aerospace People and Culture Director Laurence Beraldo, Economic and Industry Development Committee Chairperson Councillor Kate Kunzelmann, TAFE Queensland South West region General Manager Jenni Butler and Aviation Australia Business Development Manager Russell Quinn.

Mason Barratt knew it was the right program for him after hearing about it at a school assembly.

The Year 10 student has an interest in planes, trains, autos and all things mechanical, so when he learned about Aviation Australia’s Certificate II in Aircraft Line Maintenance, he had to sign up.

“The program has been great so far and we’re learning so many things about planes and aviation,” Mason said.

“The instructors and all the other students are nice too. We’ve got the same interests and we’re all excited to be on a career path already.”

Mason is one of 28 students enrolled in the first class of Aviation Australia’s Certificate II in Aircraft Line Maintenance at TAFE Queensland’s Ipswich campus, which started in January this year (2023).

The program came together after partnership talks between Ipswich City Council, TAE Aerospace, TAFE Queensland and Aviation Australia.

Ipswich Mayor Teresa Harding, who is also chair of the City of Ipswich Defence Industry Development and Attraction Committee (CIDIDAC), said the popular school-to-work program was tailor-made for Ipswich students.

“We want our young residents to find secure, local, skilled employment while boosting our city’s capabilities as a hub for advanced engineering and manufacturing,” Mayor Harding said.

“The program launched with the aim of getting 15 students, but we had such a great response that we ended up expanding the program to enrol 28 students.

“Ipswich is home to Amberley, Australia’s largest Air Force base, and the RAAF has a historic legacy in the community. I am thrilled to continue to build on this legacy.”

Economic and Industry Development Committee Chairperson Councillor Kate Kunzelmann said the program harnessed the history and interest of local aviation with an exciting future.

“Defence creates more than 4,500 direct jobs in our community and Ipswich’s defence sector generated over $4.4 billion in value in 2021-22,” Cr Kunzelmann said.

“This initiative gives our young residents a chance to connect the city’s proud history in aviation with a job down the line that will be secure and highly skilled.”

The students met with representatives from council, TAE Aerospace, TAFE Queensland and Aviation Australia at the Bundamba TAE Aerospace facility on 3 August for a day of practical study.

The Certificate II in Aircraft Maintenance (MEA20518) is a pre-vocational course designed to fit in with students’ existing high school studies, with eligible students able to complete the qualification in high school. The qualification can lead to future aviation apprenticeships and traineeships.

For more information about the course, contact Aviation Australia via

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