When Nicole Spencer-Scarr first walked into the University of Southern Queensland’s Springfield campus, she was an enthusiastic Year 12 student at St Peters Lutheran College Springfield with an unwavering desire for an aviation career.
Four years later, her determination landed her a job in the industry, fulfilling a dream she’s had for as long as she can remember.
Nicole is an Airline Service Agent for Swissport International AG – an airport ground and cargo handling service at Brisbane Airport.
She’s also one of hundreds of University of Southern Queensland (UniSQ) students who marked the end of their studies on October 17.
Nicole, who will graduate with a Bachelor of Aviation, majoring in Aviation Management, said the ceremony would mark the end of a significant chapter in her life.
“I was very relieved and excited to complete the degree as it was a rocky start when the COVID pandemic hit in 2020,” Nicole said.
“What I enjoyed most about the whole experience was the University of Southern Queensland’s flexibility. I did most of my degree online, which was a huge help; it meant I could work a lot and save money for my flight training.”
She said she made some good friends who have stuck by her over the last few years.
“They were a major contributing factor to ensuring I finished my degree, as we were all in it together.”
Currently, Nicole is working towards a Commercial Pilot’s Licence, hoping to take her career to new heights.
“When I started in March 2022, my primary role was a check-in agent, but in the past 18 months, I have gained other customer service skills and taken on some new roles, including gate lead, turnaround coordinator, movement coordinator and flight controller.
“I have given some thought to flying as a job, and while it’s taking a bit longer than I thought to build my hours and get my qualifications, I am in no rush.
“I’m thrilled to have a job in the aviation industry and flying on the side for fun.”
History of aviation
Born in South Africa, Nicole’s love of aviation was inspired by her father Chris and grandfather Rob.
Nicole completed her first solo flight in early 2018 at just 16 years of age and obtained her recreational pilot licence a few months later.
And during her final year of high school, Nicole attended the University’s Careers Day, where she got to take the controls of a Boeing 737-800 simulator on campus.
Later that year, she returned for the Two-Day Aviation Experience camp – an experience that left a lasting impression.
“What stood out to me was the four student ambassadors that helped run the workshops. They were all so amazing and passionate about what they were doing.”
Aspiring pilots and aviation professionals can study a Bachelor of Aviation at the University of Southern Queensland with majors in Flight Operations or Aviation Management.
Postgraduate aviation courses are also available.
For more information, visit unisq.edu.au.