Boeing Defence Australia has partnered with Aviation Australia to start a program that provides Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students with the training required to begin a career in aircraft maintenance.
Up to four scholarships will be provided annually in the program for the students to enrol in certificate IV or diploma level aeroskills course with Queensland Registered Training Organisation, Aviation Australia.
“This is a purposeful decision by Boeing Defence Australia to invest in Australian talent and provide a stronger future for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples,” said Boeing Defence Australia’s director of sustainment operations Darryn Fletcher.
“Maintenance personnel are critical to keeping aircraft performing at their best, so we’re playing our part to ensure there is a strong pipeline of highly-skilled Australians ready to take on the job.”
Aaron Johan was the first student to receive a Boeing Defence Australia Scholarship, and said the program has changed his life.
“I’ve had a fascination with aircraft – fixed and rotary wing – since I was about 10 years old,” said Johan.
“When I left high school I didn’t have the financial means to pursue an aeronautical engineering degree, so I moved to Victoria to be a commercial aircraft mechanic but wasn’t successful in getting a position.
“I returned to Queensland to study at Aviation Australia but the financial support I had secured fell through before I could start. It was then I met with Boeing and they offered me a scholarship.
“As a single father with three young daughters, it can be a challenge to juggle everything so I’m really proud I kept at it and am achieving my goal of a career in aviation.”
The certificate IV aeroskills (avionics) course requires 12 months of on-campus work as well as 3-4 years under the apprenticeship arrangement.
Boeing Defence Australia is in discussion with Registered Training Organisations across Australia to expand the scholarship program to other states.