Robyn Thomson

Robyn Thomson

BAv (Management) - 2017 Graduate
Junior Aviation Consultant — To70 Aviation

What appealed to you about UNSW and your degree?

I have always been interested in STEM. I was originally looking into engineering and chemical analysis degrees, although I also believed a management qualification would help me further along in my career. I appreciated the cross-section of science and business which was the aviation degree.


What is the most valuable thing you took away from your time at UNSW?

The UNSW Aviation community are the best part of the course. I felt like my voice as a student was always heard through the AvSoc (Aviation student society), the students and the school have a really close connection. The teaching staff were always there to not only challenge you but as a student I felt valued. I knew I could approach any lecturer or staff member to ask any questions about anything.

The course helped me broaden my idea of the aviation industry from being more than just airlines. It added another level of knowledge, understanding the different facets of the industry from aviation regulators to airports and maintenance. The course itself not only taught aviation-specific skills but core knowledge that can be applied to other industry areas. The course allowed me to build up and broaden my understanding of specific areas which helped to be appreciate why companies do things differently, and why certain decisions are made. 


Where has your career taken you? 

In my role as AvSoc President I was able to meet a number of industry professionals as we planned the careers day. During this time I met someone from Sydney Airport who kept me in mind for a role that had opened up in the resilience team.  I was very fortunate and not long after finishing my degree I started working as the Resilience Coordinator in the emergency management team. At Sydney Airport, I was in a role where I was supported and was able to contribute and explore to areas beyond the scope of my position.

I have always been interested in airport operations but I wanted to expand my aviation experience and knowledge. I began my master’s degree with UNSW and became very interested in airspace management and planning. There were no roles at the time in airspace, so I moved into my current consulting role with To70 Aviation. This role has allowed me to build my technical knowledge and experience within different parts of the industry, which once combined with my master’s degree will allow me to further my career into a management role with a holistic appreciation of industry. 


What innovations do you think the industry needs?

I believe that innovation in industry will come from inclusion of diversity in decision making processes. I am currently the only female of 9 people in the To70 Australian office, I would love to see this grow. Aviation is an industry where technology changes so rapidly, AND sometimes our regulations fall behind. If we bring a diverse group of people into the discussion, I believe we can plan, design and operate with more success.


What would your advice be for those currently studying or considering the study of Aviation at UNSW?

The level of expertise and the overall holistic education an aviation degree provides students is a wonderful way to kickstart your career. The program is taught by people with real industry experience, who are able to explain the concepts in a way that was transferable to other industries. 

For students currently studying aviation I would encourage them to not turn their head to small opportunities. It is good to have big goals and dreams, but a small opportunity can lead to something much bigger.

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