Sky's the limit for Qantas graduates
When James Kassimatis first heard about the Qantas graduate program early in his university degree, his ambitions soared.
"The [program] has an extremely good reputation. In my eyes it was the best," he says.
After completing studies in classical music and business, Mr Kassimatis underwent a gruelling application process for the airline's corporate graduate program, and was delighted to be offered a role.
He believes his unusual and varied study choices helped him stand out from a pool of around 3000 candidates.
"I think Qantas looks for diversity in their workforce. A lot of people have just a business background, but music teaches you to think creatively and think outside the square."
Mr Kassimatis is now 12 months into the company's two-year graduate program. Employees in the corporate cohort rotate their position to work in a different department every six months.
"I was working in the specific needs department of customer care for my first rotation," he says. This involved looking after "anything to do with passengers with a disability."
On completion of his first six month stint, Mr Kassimatis moved into Group Finance. He calls the change between departments "a totally different experience".
New graduates also have "bounce sessions" where they are able to visit different parts of the business to learn how it works. "We could go and visit the pilot recruitment area or the catering facility or aircraft hangers," he says.
Graduate stream manager Carolyn McAnulty is on hand throughout the two-year process to offer graduates advice and ensure they are meeting the program's aims.
Graduates have the opportunity to nominate the arms of the business they are most keen to work in. "If there's some part of the business they are interested in, we encourage them to be proactive, but there's a paradox – they need to be flexible as well," says Ms McAnulty.
"We take into account their needs, and I balance that with the needs of the business," she adds. "At the end of the program they come out with a diverse set of skills."
Qantas graduates enjoy a string of employment-related benefits, including a competitive base salary, bonus and incentive plans and travel-related discounts. Cheap flights are also on offer for employees who have been with the company more than six months.
For those looking to apply for the Qantas graduate program, Mr Kassimatis says preparation is the key. "I asked a lot of my lecturers and employers what kind of skills and tips they could offer me. The careers centre at uni was helpful as well."
Would-be graduates undertake a rigorous application process including phone interviews, group assessments and a panel-style interview. There is also an online psychometric testing element aimed at measuring each candidate's numeracy, literacy and work skills.
Mr Kassimatis says finding out he got through each round was "very motivating", and was ultimately well worth the effort.
He doesn't anticipate leaving Qantas anytime soon. "Once you get the 'jet fuel' in your blood, it's very hard to lose."
Article source: CareerOne.com.au
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