First Students at Flinders to Graduate with Remote Pilot Aviation Qualifications

Eight Year 12 students have passed their exams with “flying colours” to become the first cohort at Matthew Flinders Anglican College to receive aviation qualifications, presented at a whole-College assembly on Wednesday, 12 October. 

The students received their Certificate III in Aviation (Remote Pilot) qualification and Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) remote pilot licence, offered as part of the College’s Vocational Education and Training (VET) program. 

The qualifications enable graduates to explore careers and opportunities in emerging aviation technologies, such as drones, which are now used across a range of industries for greater efficiency - from surf patrols and sports coverage, to construction and engineering, farming, safety and rescue, defence and the creative arts.  

To congratulate the students, Bombardier Riley Van Leeuwen attended the College assembly and shared with students and staff the fascinating opportunities, rewards and challenges experienced in his role as a UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) Mission Commander in the Australian Army.

The Australian Government expects the use of emerging aviation technologies and services to generate widespread benefits, with drones projected to “create up to 10,000 jobs over the next 20 years” and the potential for the drone industry “to increase Australia's Gross Domestic Product by $14.5 billion from 2020 to 2040”.

Head of Technologies, Mrs Natalle Sutton said, “The Certificate III in Aviation (Remote Pilot) is a new subject offered as part of the Design and Technologies suite at Flinders, and we are excited to be able to present this prestigious qualification to the first cohort of Flinders students.

“The certification provides holders with the training required to legally operate a remotely piloted aircraft and gives them the opportunity to earn a wage at the same time,” Mrs Sutton said. 

“The qualification allows the pilot to fly a drone without many of the weight or operating restrictions applied to recreational users.”

“With the increased capabilities and opportunities that drone technology can deliver, businesses across many industries, including real estate, agriculture, retail, sport and entertainment, are turning towards this safer, more cost-effective solution.”

“As a result, organisations are progressively replacing many of the most dangerous and high-paying jobs with drone technology.” 

Flinders Secondary Teacher Mr Brendon Gallaher teaches the course, drawing upon his passion for and background in aviation engineering as a Licensed Aircraft Maintenance Engineer.

Mr Gallaher said, "Teaching this course is a true privilege. With my background in aviation engineering I have enjoyed utilising these skills to guide our students toward exciting opportunities in the world of aviation."

"It was great for the students to hear from Bombardier Riley Van Leeuwen, as he provided the real world context of this qualification.” 

Cover image:

L-R: Flinders Aviation graduates, Year 12 students Laci Williams, Jessica Reilly, Jude Sutton, Aiden Perkins, Carson Whitten, Jayden Kirkwood and Breanna Burnett (Absent: Tayla Fraser). 

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