Richard King-Siem and his students for the Wide Bay Australia International Airshow.
Richard King-Siem and his students for the Wide Bay Australia International Airshow. Queensland Events

Wide Bay Aus International Airshow

RUNNING the second largest airshow in Australia is no easy task.

Wide Bay Australia International Airshow CEO Richard King-Siem saw the opportunity to find helping hands, as well as chance to educate the next generation of aviation professionals.

Richard, a mining engineer/project manager in the “real world”, and his friend Ray Vuillermin had worked with many graduates – aviation in Ray’s case and engineering in Richard’s– and noticed a lack of practical skills.

“We were discussing the common short falls of uni graduates and that it takes at least one year before they become professionally competent,” Richard says.

“The major things are poor people skills, and a poor understanding of how to work across a multi-skill and multi-discipline workplace.

“The other problem that graduates face in their first job is a poor or non-supportive work place.

“Instead of complaining, we thought, let’s do something about it.”

Richard set about contacting Universities and managed to get Griffith and the University of Southern Queensland on board to incorporate experience working for the Airshow into the second and third year Aviation student’s ‘main project’.

Through the project, students learn how to run the three-day Wide Bay Australian International Airshow.

“They write the chapters that make up the airshow manual,” Richard says.

“They are the ones that have to work stuff out.

“These are people who want to join Qantas and Virgin, and when most 19/20-year-olds go for an interview in the industry and are asked how they responded to a critical situation, all they have is their experiences at KFC.

“But these kids will have dealt with real response plans.”

19-year-old Jenna Moores is combining an Aviation degree at Griffith University with a Graduate Diploma in Flight Management.

She knew she would have to complete a major project at some point and saw helping organise the Wide Bay Australia International Airshow as a bonus because she would be gaining real world experience.

Students are split into different teams according to their area of interest like aviation, infrastructure, sales and marketing.

As part of the marketing group, Jenna and her team are creating presentations for prospective clients who might be interested in coming to the airshow.

“As well as interacting with Tourism Queensland to develop offers for overseas customers, we also write magazine articles and create advertising agreements,” Jenna says.

“Other groups are in charge of things like finding out how many food vendors we'll need at the airshow, writing contracts for everyone employed and making sure that all the volunteers are taken care of each day”.

For Jenna, working with the airshow is giving her experience that will prove useful in her career as a pilot.

“I'm hoping that participating in this project will give me the tools to branch out into other areas of the industry if I decide to change my career path in the future,” she says.

The Wide Bay Australia International Airshow includes aerial demonstrations, joy flights, and static displays of some of the finest aircraft to take to the skies. While on the ground there is the chance to check out some live music, kids rides, machinery, and of course aircraft.

“The students are exposed to responsibilities and placed in critical operational positions that would be economic suicide in a normal business,” says Richard of the unique work experience he provides.

“But the Airshow is a work place that is able to address these issues”.

Wide Bay Australian International Airshow
When: July 3-5, 2009
Where: Bundaberg

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