Career Transition with David

What sparked your career change?

In a word… Covid.

What work were you doing previously?

I was a Leading Hand/Driver/Checker at Dnata Catering, formerly Alpha Flight Services. In the Operations Dept for near on 7 years.

What are you doing now?

I am about to start a job as CASA certified Aerodrome Reporting Officer (FIFO) in WA. At the Penny Gold Project (mine) in the Goldfields area of the state. I will be working a 2:1 roster.

Why did you change jobs?

Again, Covid… I was incredibly happy where I was. If it were not for the onset of Covid and redundancies, I would almost certainly still be at Dnata Catering.

What process did you go through to decide to change?

After being made redundant in November 2020, I had an awfully long hard think about what I was going to do, it took me rather long time to come to terms with the impact that Covid had. Mentally I took a big hit, I felt useless and alone for a long time, luckily my partner had a job to continue with and I took on the role of stay-at-home Dad to occupy me… 

Deciding I still had a lot to give to the aviation industry and that I was not content with leaving it. With the industry in taters, I searched for options outside of the box, and one of those options was ARO (Aerodrome Reporting Officer), having a long history in aviation, it seemed a logical extension. Basically, looking after the running and compliance of a certified airstrip. 

How did you go about making the shift?

I invested nearly $10,000 in training, compliance and up-skilling to get me ready for the position of ARO/WSO.

What help did you manage to get?

Financially, only with the help of my redundancy, we (Dnata catering) were not eligible for job keeper, or any additional government assistance.

Personally, Dnata engaged Career, Money, Life to assist those made redundant in redeployment. In taking up the offer after completing my training, I met Richard. I already had a goal; he has helped me achieve it… His assistance has been second to none. I will be eternally grateful for the times in which he has been there for me. I have never been in such a position before.

What was the hardest part of changing careers?

Having the job I loved ripped from me, where I had worked extremely hard to get to where I was at in the company. I was looking forward to the next 10-15 years, and the progression the position brought to me. 

Not seeing my old work “family” anymore is hard. We had a very tight, close, and trusting relationship in the group. We used to see each other more than we saw our families.

What have you learned in the process?

To trust in myself and the decisions I have made. Follow what feels right and listen to your mentors. Giving myself enough time to digest what had happened, decide, act, and follow-through was especially important.

Are you happy with the change?

I am now… however it has taken a lot to get me there, Covid hit me hard mentally.

What do you miss and what don’t you miss?

I miss working at Perth Airport, large commercial aircraft, my work family, being a leader amongst the group, my relationship, and my association with major stakeholders (Airlines). My career was certainly tracking in an upward direction. I also miss my work with the TWU as Senior Workplace Delegate.

I do not miss the 24-hour shift pattern and almost soul-destroying roster, and I do not miss dealing with certain managers that knew less about the job than the people employed to do the job. We ran a smooth ship without the help of 9-5 managers and we did it extremely well.

What do you enjoy most about your new career?

I am yet to find out, ask me again in a months’ time. 

I think I will enjoy opening a green site and being in command of my own remote certified aerodrome and the responsibility that brings.

What do you wish you had done differently?

Not a whole lot really… Once I had gotten used to the fact, I no longer had a job in the career that I loved, and that I had made my decisions… the entire process has been quite smooth and seamless.

What 3 tips would you give advice to others in the same situation?

  • The way Covid hit, take the time to digest the change… Being lost and alone is a very normal feeling.
  • Engage with the help on hand and listen to your mentors.
  • Never forget the ones you love. They will be the only ones left if it all falls over. The past 18 months have been extremely hard, I could not have done it without their support.

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