What is your role at Cobham and what does it entail?
I am currently based in the Broome, Western Australia maintenance facility as a B2 Licensed Aircraft Maintenance Engineer (LAME) working on special mission aircraft. My role entails performing scheduled maintenance and unscheduled defect rectification on the Avionics of the Bombardier Dash 8 fleet alongside a team of B1 LAMEs and a Senior Base Engineer. Aircraft maintenance is based on the principle of prevention not reaction so good eyes, attention, planning and experience are major factors in performing our tasks.
Why did you choose this career path?
My schooling was essentially focused on the subjects available at the time, and in an all-female school these were mainly languages, cooking and typing. This wasn’t really where my passion lied and I had a keen interest in maths which lead me to pursue Engineering at college. After two years of studying a Mechanical Engineering Certificate, I found the course lacked the practical application. My brother was at the time an Aircraft Composite Engineer and advised me this may be an option. I soon gained an apprenticeship as a Mechanical and Electrical Aircraft Maintenance Engineer and qualified in this area. I’ve since continued my training to include Avionics, as well as gained a number of specialist aircraft maintenance licenses, and have done this while working two other part time jobs to finance the studies. I have always enjoyed every single new fact I’ve learned about aircraft and this has pushed me to continue my fascination in this area. I’ve never really thought of all that I’ve pursued as being a ‘career’ as such, it has just been something I’ve loved doing.
What are the highlights of your career so far?
Over the last 14 years, working in the aviation industry, I have had the pleasure of working with people from all different parts of the world and have had the benefit of travelling to many countries performing aircraft maintenance and installing large scale modifications. However, I’d have to say the highlight so far has been the opportunity to use the skills I have obtained to work with the Special Mission team here in Broome, Western Australia. We are a small team of very knowledgeable Engineers highly focussed on the safety and performance of our aircraft.
What are the major challenges of your job today?
Aviation is constantly changing and transforming whether it is regulatory, applied or just basic hand skills. Every day is a learning day no matter how much knowledge a person has. I don’t see this as much of a challenge but more an opportunity to change and adapt. With the modern times we are moving towards being more dependent on soft copies rather than hard. This allows quicker communication to a larger audience hence supporting our performance in our jobs even better. Continuous improvement is extremely important to the reliability of our fleet.
What’s next for your career?
At the moment I am quite content in my role but there will always be room to advance my knowledge. I will never turn down any opportunity to learn. I plan to continue my training outside of work to learn to fly at a Private Pilot’s License level so I can better understand the experiences of the pilots. I plan to always work ‘hands on’ the aircraft as the practical area is where I can contribute best.
Why should people (particularly women) consider a career with Cobham within Engineering?
With Cobham I feel there are no limits. People are treated equally, based on their hard work and qualification in their area. I have even recommended a friend recently to apply for a position with Cobham because I believe she will be judged on potential to perform the job no matter what her gender is. All throughout my career to date, I have looked at people as people. I have worked with excellent female and male Engineers and don’t believe either is better than the other we are all just equal. I can see this belief is also one held by Cobham and it is why I am more than happy to say to everyone that Cobham is a fair and just company with plenty of opportunities. Cobham Aviation Services has bases all over Australia and a day will not go by without communicating with another person in another state. We could not operate without each other. Although Cobham is global, I feel we are also a small community that work together moving forward for the same result, safety, customer satisfaction and reliability.