Griffith aviation graduates flying high

The airlines are back recruiting cadets — and Griffith University has secured three through Virgin Australia.

Virgin Australia selected 18 cadets (eight already pilots and ten ab initio) across the country to start their pilot training program, among 3000 applicants in the highly competitive process.

Griffith’s highly regarded Bachelor of Aviation degree gave its cadets an edge to make the cut, with Lachlan Barr, Angus Slattery and Shelby Tillett overwhelmed to have gotten the opportunity. They were selected to the ab initio stream.

Virgin’s 54-week program is run from Adelaide where the cadets will get assigned an aircraft to train for.

Lachlan said it was a dream come true.

“Ever since I was a kid I’ve wanted to be a pilot,” said the 22-year-old.

Angus grew up in the industry with his family working in ground operations so a career in aviation was a natural choice

“I was lucky I got to travel a lot,” he said.

Griffith aviation graduate Angus Slattery

“I’d like to be able to continue that and provide that to my kids and keep travelling and living and breathing the industry.

“This is career shaping. The fact our degree has set us up for this opportunity is fantastic.”

Angus is chief pilot in the Griffith Aviation MATES (Mentoring Aviators Through Educational Support) program, a required component of the Bachelor of Aviation degree where students meet on a weekly basis to engage with industry speakers.

Lachlan said Virgin had not hired cadets for five years and they guaranteed a job at the end and supported trainees financially so it was a great opportunity.


Griffith aviation graduate Lachlan Barr

Head of Griffith Aviation Associate Professor Gui Lohmannsaid that having three out of ten ab initio cadets coming from Griffith Aviation is a recognition from Virgin Australia about the quality of the students the university attracted and the education they received as part of their Aviation degrees.

“In 2018, Griffith Aviation is launching new initiatives to make sure their cutting edge degrees are in the forefront of Aviation education,” he said

“They include a new flight procedure lab, specific courses on Rotary Wings and UAVs, as well as the first even Helicopter Pilot Training Graduate Diploma in Flight Management.”

Griffith aviation graduate Shelby Tillett