Aerospace agreement takes flight

St Mary's College, Ipswich

St Mary’s students and Principal Judith Finan and USQ Pro Vice-Chancellor Professor John Cole at the launch of the Aerospace Gateway to Industry Schools program partnership

ST Mary’s College has become the first school in Ipswich to offer direct pathways for students into the aerospace industry as part of the Aerospace Gateway to Industry Schools program.

The program was established to support the growth and development of an effective workforce for the aviation industry sector with participating schools partnering with the industry to proactively engage and inspire students to consider a skilled, diverse and sustainable career in aerospace or related industries.

Endorsed by the support and commitment of staff and industry partners such as Boeing, TAE Aerospace and Skills Generation, the program has proven essential in meeting the Queensland Government’s aim of transitioning young people from school to work while completing school and gaining formal qualifications.

At the launch, St Mary’s College Principal Judith Finan and Pro Vice-Chancellor of the University of Southern Queensland (USQ), Professor John Cole officially signed a Collaboration Agreement enabling the college to deliver, onsite, a Certificate II in Engineering Pathways in Year 11 and a Certificate III in Aviation (Remote Pilot - Visual Line of Sight) in Year 12 from 2020,

Professor Cole endorsed the strong commitment by USQ in his address to the congregation. 

“Our agreement guarantees automatic entry into a Bachelor of Aviation for graduates who have completed the Certificate III in Aviation,” he said.

Just a little over six per cent of pilots within the Aerospace industry are women. 

The program offered broader access to the many opportunities across aviation, including business development, engineering, logistics and human resourcing.

Mrs Finan said the invaluable partnership with USQ would give young women in the college a direct career pathway into the Aerospace industry.

“What an exciting phase of change for our college,” she said.

“We are proud to be the first all-girls school in Queensland to be part of The Aerospace Gateway to Industry Schools program,” she said.  

Guests at the launch were delighted to hear from past student, Jessie Christiansen, who shared some inspiring words through a short video. 

Jessie, who won the 2018 NASA Exceptional Engineering Achievement Medal for her work on the Kepler planet sample, works as an astrophysicist at the NASA Exoplanet Science Institute at Caltech.  

Mrs Finan said Jessie developed her love for the aerospace industry through an astronomy club at St Mary’s College in 1999.

“We are honoured to have Jessie as a mentor for our students.

“Jessie is an industrious example of someone leading the way in her industry,” she said.

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