In the lead-up to International Women’s Day, Airservices is proudly championing the highly skilled women in our national team to help #BreakTheBias and showcase the many varied and rewarding opportunities available for women considering a career in aviation.
Catch up on previous profiles on our newsroom, including an interview with Head of Customer Engagement, Mu Yan.
Meet Jen Hughes, Leading Fire Fighter
Jen is a highly trained fire fighter ready to respond to the emergency and safety needs of airlines, airports and the travelling public. First on the scene, Jen is part of an Aviation Rescue Fire Fighting Service ready at Australia’s largest airport, 24-hours a day, seven days a week.
How did you achieve your current role?
I enjoy working with people. I also enjoy working in jobs that allow me to make a positive impact while working as part of a highly committed and dedicated team. I have eight years’ experience as an aviation fire fighter, having served two years as an Auxiliary Fire Fighter with Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES).
What inspires you? What do you love most about your job?
I strive to have a meaningful impact on the community and others. This role has amazing benefits and interesting workdays, while allowing me to stay fit and active.
At a deeper level, it enables me to be trained and ready to save lives, help people and to use my compassionate nature to assist others.
I enjoy the camaraderie, although being challenging at times, it is a great opportunity to build culture reform and to make strong bonds within my team.
How do you see women in aviation/your profession breaking the bias locally, nationally or internationally?
Being visual role models and raising awareness of the possibilities, positions and pathways available for an aviation career is key to breaking the bias.
At a local level, I’m breaking the bias by gaining respect and acceptance as a valued and integral part of the team.
What female role models have inspired you?
My role models have included my mother – as a strong capable woman – and being trained by a Queensland Fire and Emergency Services female fire fighter who was very active and successful in her role.
What advice would you give women thinking about a career in aviation/at Airservices?
- Talk to others in the role, never stop learning and don’t get caught-up in the rumour mill.
- Look for role models.
- Seek out appropriate allies (male or female).
- Don’t try to be a perfectionist.
- Don’t try to be someone you’re not.
- Get straight to the point.
- Don’t apologise for something that’s not your fault.
- Don’t be afraid to assert yourself.
- Be honest.
- Be kind to yourself and learn from mistakes without overly criticising yourself.
Q: How do you manage a work/life balance amid shift work?
Ask for help when necessary. And take time for family and yourself if you need to.
Airservices Australia is responsible for the safe and efficient management of 11 per cent of the world’s airspace and the provision of aviation rescue fire fighting services at Australia’s busiest airports. We connect people with their world safely – linking family and friends, generating economic activity, creating jobs and facilitating trade and tourism.