Katrina Arkell-Qantas

Katrina Arkell

University of Technology Sydney
HR Manager, Qantas Flight Operations
Katrina studied Bachelor of Business (HR Major) at University of Technology Sydney

Why did you choose the Qantas Graduate Program?

It’s cliché but true – I knew from the start that I wanted a grad role in an organisation that I believed in and would be proud to say I worked for.  Plus, I was banking on the fact that I would get to work across a whole range of areas, in both operational and corporate teams, which is exactly what happened.

What was the coolest part of being a Qantas Graduate?

As a graduate there’s a lot of focus on getting to know as many parts of the business as possible, not just through your rotations but also through regular ‘excursions’ where I flew an A380 under the harbour bridge (don’t worry, it was in a simulator…), got trained in evacuating an aircraft (again, exercise only) and helped prepare meals in our Catering Centre.

What was your biggest misconception about working for an airline?

I definitely underestimated the size and complexity – i.e. the number of people across so many departments in over 30 ports around the world that come together every day to deliver for our customers.  In one day, we move over 160,000 people on over 1,000 passenger flights; we serve over 133,000 meals; and we move over 73,000 pieces of luggage and over 4,000 shipments of freight. 

How has being part of the Graduate Program supported your career path through Qantas?

As you would probably expect, as a grad you will feel very well supported through your Managers and colleagues, and through the additional experiences and development opportunities that you get by being part of a formal program.  But in a more informal way, one of the best things that continues to help me with career decisions post the grad program have been the relationships I’ve made with previous Managers but also just as importantly, with my fellow grads and peers.

What tips do you have for those applying for the Qantas Graduate Program?

  • Be yourself – authenticity is important
  • Be unique – think about what sets you apart from others and make sure you highlight that
  • Be confident, but not over-confident (there’s a big difference!)