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Byron Shire
August 4, 2021

Student up in the air, on the ground

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Students can learn to be ground crew. Photo supplied.

Local students are getting the chance to fly on the ground in a new TAFE airport simulator at Wollongbar.

TAFE NSW Kingscliff and Wollongbar students studying Certificates in Aviation Ground Operations, Cabin Crew, Flight Operations and Cargo got out of the classroom and into a replica airport last week at TAFE NSW Wollongbar with a practical assessment day.

Fifty students were assessed on a range of tasks including loading freight and baggage safely according to destination, weight and the type of object; rehearsing an emergency evacuation using the inflatable evacuation slide; marshalling an aeroplane while being directed via radio; driving an airside tug; offloading passengers and practising cabin beverage and retail service.

TAFE NSW Aviation Co-ordinator, Julie Logan said it is important that TAFE NSW students are job-ready when they graduate.

‘To learn and practice in simulated environments makes a real situation, whether it be a fire or an everyday task in the industry, a less daunting prospect,’ said Ms Logan.

‘At TAFE NSW we want our students to have performed these everyday tasks over and over again in an environment that feels realistic so they are familiar with industry best practice upon graduation.’

Inside the replica plane with TAFE NSW teacher Alyssa Ingledew. Photo supplied.

Ms Logan said that TAFE NSW offer a range of aviation study options so that students can complete qualifications from more than one area which allows them to be multi-skilled.

‘Graduates can work in security one day, at the check-in desk or airside the next, this is important when you are applying for aviation jobs in regional areas.

Mature age student Chris Kay from Alstonville is studying a Certificate III in Aviation Ground Operations and Services at TAFE NSW.

Chris said that the practical day was great. ‘It’s amazing to be able to learn from TAFE NSW teachers who have all worked in the industry in so many different areas,’ he said. ‘They all have anecdotes and examples of why something is done in a certain way.

‘TAFE NSW is quite flexible with how the courses are run which meant we get to participate with other students who might be at a different course stage than ourselves. This means that you can learn from everyone.

Chris said the practical day allows students to sample a bit of everything that may be involved in a career and decide what is and isn’t for you. ‘Having this experience has given me the confidence to know I will be job-ready when I graduate.’

Students learn to lead and emergency evacuation. Photo supplied.

Julie Logan says when she started out there was no formal training available. ‘I have been working in the industry for 22 years with ground operations and I was the Rex airport Manager for 10 years so I know what it is like to hire new employees and they have no idea how to use a radio.

‘TAFE NSW is offering Ground Operations training to the highest level with simulated areas that provide students with the experience they need to be able to work on an airport confidently and safely.

‘It is very rewarding to see how these students improve from day one to graduation when they leave job-ready.’

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