As jet-setting Australians return to their pre-pandemic ways, Bureau of Infrastructure and Transport Research Economics data shows almost 11 million passengers took to the skies in August alone.
Demand is high for workers across all aspects of air travel, including operational flying, technical support, ground and cabin crew, border control and security services. Jobs for aircraft maintenance engineers, in particular, are projected to increase by 17% by 2026.
TAFE NSW Aeroskills Teacher David Duncan said in his time working in the aviation industry, he has never seen such a high demand for skilled aviation workers.
“Employers are screaming out for staff right now – there is an incredible resurgence taking place in the aviation sector so there are job opportunities galore,” Mr Duncan said.
“Our hands-on, practical courses at TAFE NSW ensure students can graduate on Friday and walk into an airport or hangar with all the skills to start work on Monday.
“If you have a curious mind and love working with your hands, aircraft engineering is a fascinating and versatile profession. We see graduates working on helicopters, light planes and larger aircraft all over the world.”
NSW employs the largest proportion of aircraft maintenance engineers across the country, but only 3% of those are women.
Lara Oyston is an 18-year-old Dapto local who has scored her dream job in the industry as an apprentice aircraft maintenance technician with Sky Dive Australia.
Having always been drawn to a trade, Lara discovered the Certificate IV in Avionics at TAFE NSW Padstow, where she has found the practical skills have supported her on the job.
“I’m a first-year apprentice, so some days at work can be pretty overwhelming. Having the time to sit down and study things like aircraft parts or safety regulations in depth has been incredibly valuable,” Ms Oyston said.
“At work I focus on Cessna planes, but at TAFE I get to broaden my skills by working on a variety of aircraft I wouldn’t normally have access to.”
“I’m so grateful to have industry experts on tap to ask questions; the support from teachers and the skills I have gained have all helped me so much.
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 Australian Government, Department of Infrastructure, Regional Development, Communications and the Arts: Bureau of Infrastructure and Transport Research Economics Monthly Airport Traffic Data, August 2022
 Jobs and Skills Australia: Employment Projections to 2026
 Australian Bureau of Statistics: Census 2016