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College Students Discuss Their Experiences at NBAA/UAA Career Seminar
October 24, 2013
Around 130 college students from accredited schools in the University Aviation Association (UAA) met on Oct. 24 at NBAA's Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition (NBAA2013) to discuss career opportunities in business aviation with industry professionals and their peers.
The morning session, hosted by NBAA Project Manager, Professional Development Sarah Wolf, also provided students with the chance to network with their peers from across the country and discuss their experiences in seeking employment in the industry.
Wolf began the session by noting the diverse number of programs aimed at assisting those seeking a career in business aviation, including internship and scholarship opportunities. "NBAA gives away, with the help of our sponsors, more than $100,000 in scholarships each year," she told attendees. "One of the things we are always surprised with, however, is the relatively low number of applications we receive for free money."
The student groups then broke out into a series of roundtable discussions, each led by an NBAA staffer, or other established industry professional, to discuss the students' individual backgrounds and skills, and their aspirations for a possible career in business aviation.
"This is actually my first time at an NBAA Convention," said student Christine Armstrong. "I'm here looking for career opportunities, and I've always wanted to work in aviation. This is a wonderful opportunity to open the door and see what's out there."
"This day is a valuable networking opportunity," added U.S. Army Sgt. Bryan McTaggart, who will graduate in December from Embry Riddle Aeronautical University (ERAU) in Prescott, AZ. "I feel that this is a great way to introduce myself to executives and companies, so I may have a competitive 'leg up' from my peers."
The roundtables also provided students with the opportunity to compare their experiences and share their perspectives on gaining a foothold in the industry. A consistent theme emerged in those discussions.
"If you look at the trends in [business] aviation, there are more people between the ages of 40 and 60 in the industry than any other age group," observed ERAU student Austin Davis. "That's going to begin to shift over the next five years, though. Everything is going to switch as that group begins to retire."
And, while there is consensus that a new generation of industry professionals is necessary, students seeking a career path into business aviation have also discovered it is vital that they have needed skills to those positions.
"The main line is, 'we want youth, but we also want experience,'" McTaggart said.