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Student Spotlight: Chris Shares How Studying Online With UCT Is Boosting His Aviation Ambitions

Student Spotlight: Chris Shares How Studying Online With UCT Is Boosting His Aviation Ambitions

With a love for the aviation industry, Chris enrolled on the UCT online Advanced Diploma in Business Project Management programme to open more doors in his career. He hopes to use the new skill set and the weight of the UCT name to spread his wings and perhaps, one day, work with Airbus or Bombardier.      

Tell us a bit about yourself.
I currently reside in Johannesburg, in fact have lived in JHB my whole life. My hobbies include triathlons, playing guitar, travel (if the budget allows), and just general socializing with friends and family. I have a degree in Theology, a private pilots license, and I currently work in the aviation industry selling private aircraft, anything from a Robinson R22 to an Embraer 145.

What made you decide to apply for the programme?
I wanted the opportunity to gain a new set of skills which could be of use to me in my current role in the aviation industry, but also for other industries too. I also view the course as an opportunity to increase my earning potential.

How many hours a week do you spend on learning?
Best I've managed in a week is 15 hours, and I think the worst I've managed is about 6-7. Studying while working is challenging, so you have to try and work at any opportunity that presents itself. To be honest, I don't think the 15-20 hour guide given to us is sustainable as a single person; the normal responsibilities of life inevitably get in the way when you have to do everything for yourself. I guess I probably average around 11-13 hours a week.

What are you enjoying most about the online learning experience? Are you enjoying the Virtual Learning Environment, forums, etc?
The forums are good, sometimes it's great to have other students help me out. Inevitably, "distance learning" has its restrictions, so when you need clarity on a submission, the forums are perfect for that. I am enjoying the way the course has been structured; i.e. There is never any doubt if you are on track or falling behind. I also just love the content and having the opportunity to be stimulated with new knowledge and new problems to solve.

Has the course met your expectations?
So far the course has met my expectations, but coming from a very different background of studies, the content is fundamentally different, and the approach to learning is also completely different.

How do you think the programme would impact your career advancement? Not only in terms of skills, but also because of the University certificate behind your name?
I think the course will benefit me in my industry because it will act as door opener to different roles within aviation, perhaps even the opportunity to work for an aircraft manufacturer like Bombardier or Airbus. I think the fact that the course is accredited through UCT has a great weight to it, and should bare positively on me with any future job prospects I have.

Do you plan any further studies after this has finished?
Initially, no. I need a break from working 24/7 so that I can start training properly for Ironman again. Depending on what happens in the next 12-18 months I may study further, but it's not on the cards yet.

How do you plan to conquer part-time studies while you manage your career and/or family and social obligations?
Simple...prioritise. I won't detract from the fact that having no wife and kids is the prime opportunity to study, but the principle remains the same, just prioritise. Inevitably, it's the luxuries that have to be sacrificed; perhaps I can only train 2 hours this week instead of 10, but it's only for one year so the focus will shift back in my favour soon enough.

Do you have any major highlights from the programme so far? If so, what were they? 
I am particularly pleased with the content! It has taught me so much already in the past 6 months, things that it took me years to learn in the work environment! I am also really pleased to get great results back from my submissions; there have been weeks where I genuinely did not know if my submission adequately answer the questions, and to get feedback with a mark over 90% is just fantastic! Having someone from Get Smarter call you to congratulate you really makes your day!

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