IKEA principles guide AME awardee

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 Jack Callow, AME scholarship recipient

 ‘If you can put together IKEA furniture you’ve probably got a great head start in aircraft engineering,’ one of our 2022 AME scholarship recipients, Jack Callow, says.

He started his aviation career as a baggage handler at Babcock in South Australia before commencing his apprenticeship with Offshore Services Australia, where he works at a variety of locations including Mungalalu Truscott Airbase in the remote Kimberly region.

‘Being side by side with engineers who were working on the latest and greatest helicopters really sparked my interest,’ he explains.

‘Although I studied aviation at high school in Western Australia, I wasn’t the most academic student around. For me, the hardest part is that I’m a mature age apprentice and I’ve really had to apply myself to get back into studying full-time.

‘But the team at Aviation Australia [where Jack is studying his diploma] are great, not only because they are instructors but they’re also industry people and know exactly what it’s like.’

Jack Callow in action in one of the Offshore Services Australia’s helicopters

Jack works on a mixed fleet of heavy twin-turbine helicopters. He admits the industry was initially hard to break into. ‘The roles never seem to be advertised as much as you think they should be,’ he says.

‘But there’s still plenty of different opportunities on offer. You should speak to as many people and businesses as you can in the industry first. Just because one workplace is one style doesn’t reflect the whole of the industry.

‘I’ve been lucky to start my engineering career at Offshore, with a team that’s got decades of experience. I’ve worked in some interesting places in Australia and overseas in Timor and have had the chance to work on 5 different modern aircraft types.

‘I was also given the opportunity to train as a search and rescue winch operator and do that role concurrently with my engineering role. I’ve been able to fly around in some of the most remote and beautiful places in Australia no-one ever really gets to see.’

Jack’s advice for any budding engineers out there is to be methodical and be prepared for the job at hand.

‘Don’t be afraid to have your work checked over by others as well,’ he says. ‘Everyone’s there to work together and prevent small mistakes from being big ones.

‘A keen eye for detail is also helpful. Being able to read and interpret a manual correctly also really helps a lot. That’s what I was referring to with the IKEA comment, because if you can read a set of those directions, you really do have a great advantage.’

Jack admits he was shocked when he realised he’d been awarded one of the AME scholarships.

‘Honestly I couldn’t believe it, I had entered thinking I probably wouldn’t get far,’ he says.

‘But being awarded the scholarship meant that I’ve received the funding to complete manufacturing and engineering assessment short courses with Aviation Australia to gain some extra skills and fast track my on-the-job training journal.

‘Hopefully I’ll also complete my final few months of study as quickly as possible. Then I’ll do some type training and get my full licence on type.’

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