First aviation students chosen for Qantas programme


Grayden Ecklein, Darcy Clure, Captain Ian Griggs, Ashok Poduval and Vanessa Brill-Holland at the announcement of the first successful students to enter the Qantas Future Pilots Program. Cameron Nayler, Jacob Houghton and Chase McDonald were unable to attend the presentation.


After an intense selection process, the first six School of Aviation students have been chosen by Jetstar New Zealand for the Qantas Future Pilots Program.

Massey University was the first tertiary institution outside of Australia to join the programme when it signed a partnership deal with the airline in May this year. It offers aviation students a pathway to flying for Jetstar New Zealand.

Student pilots Cameron Nayler, Chase Mc Donald, Darcy Clure, Vanessa Brill-Holland and Jacob Houghton, Grayden Ecklein were successful after Jetstar’s first selection process. While four of the students will start Qantas’ 12-week Airline Transition Course almost immediately, Mr Ecklein will be one of two students to begin the course early next year. 

He says he feels privileged to be one of the programme’s first successful New Zealand candidates after a competitive selection process. 

“The selection was a challenge and quite nerve racking, but I was very impressed by the transparency and communication, as well as how accommodating the Qantas Group representatives were,” he says.

Vanessa Brill-Holland, Darcy Clure and Grayden Ecklein are congratulated by Captain Ian Griggs.


A career game-changer

Mr Ecklein believes entry into the Qantas Future Pilots Program will be a major career milestone.

“Although the aviation industry, as a whole, is on the up and job prospects are beginning to open up across the industry, this opportunity allows us to pursue the goal of becoming an airline pilot now,” he says.

Senior base pilot for Jetstar New Zealand, Captain Ian Griggs, says the airline decided to partner with the School of Aviation because of an expected shortage of pilots globally and the school’s high standard of training.  

School of Aviation chief executive Ashok Poduval says the partnership will be a game changer for pilot training in New Zealand.

“This partnership is very timely, given the increasing demand for skilled pilots around the world,” he says. “For our best students, this programme is an amazing opportunity to transition into a reputable airline.”

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