Professor Paul Bates & Captain Adrian Young

Professor Paul Bates, Foundation Professor and Head of Aviation, University of Southern Queensland

Professor Paul Bates is Foundation Professor and Head of Aviation at the University of Southern Queensland in Australia. He has held this position since 2015 when Aviation started at USQ. Before this appointment Professor Bates was Head of Aviation at another Australian University for approximately 20 years. Graduates of Programs he has designed and managed work in 50 different airlines around the globe. Paul presided over the creation of the First Qantas Cadet Program with a University and has worked closely with other colleagues to develop cadet programs with other airlines. Professor Bates has guided USQ’s membership as a foundation member of the Qantas Group Future Pilot Program. He was the Chair of the ICAO Next Generation of Aviation Professionals Outreach Committee for several years and has served with the International Pilot Training Association. He is currently working with ICAO on a new University linked program for the industry. 

Paul is very active in Aviation Safety research and is currently supervising around a dozen Doctoral research projects all with active industry participation. He is a Member of the Australian Tertiary Education Quality Standards Agency Panel of Experts and a member of the Hong Kong Council for Accreditation of Academic Qualifications. 

As you see Paul has a lifetime of experience in aviation and higher education and he continues to work closely with Airlines, International Organisations and young people and this gives him a unique perspective.


Captain Adrian Young, Head of Flying Operations and Chief Pilot, QantasLink

Adrian’s dream of flying commenced at an early age and by 14 commenced flying training. Just prior to his 18th birthday, Adrian completed his Commercial Pilot Licence followed by his Instructor rating test on his 18th birthday and the next day commenced work. His career saw experience in instructing, training and checking, charter operations, safety and aviation operational management, not only on the east coast of Australia but also overseas in Europe, United States, New Zealand and PNG.

In 2000 Adrian joined Sunstate Airlines (QantasLink) and within nine months entered his first management and instructing role. Eighteen months later he worked with a small team to build the Safety Management System. After achieving his command at 27 he returned to management and was instrumental in leading the very first Australian approval for an integrated Flying Operations structure across two AOC’s. Following this project Adrian was appointed Manager Standards – QantasLink – a role responsible for operational, training standards and risk oversight of 500+ crew, as well as instructing and examining. In 2012 he was then appointed to the role of Manager Flying Operations and Deputy Chief Pilot. He was the lead manager to establish Jetstar New Zealand Regional operations in 2015 with only a 6 month timeline to achieve an ANZA approved Area AOC; 1 in 50 cabin ratio approval; recruit both flight and cabin crew; and position five aircraft into New Zealand.

In September 2016, Adrian was appointed to Head of Flying Operations and Chief Pilot – QantasLink. Throughout 2017, Adrian was the architect of the Qantas Group Future Pilot Program (QGFPP) – a program designed in partnership with Australia’s and New Zealand leading aviation universities to provide an integrated pilot pathway into various airlines within the Qantas Group.

With over 28 years in the aviation industry – 18 years with QantasLink, Adrian has held various roles and his career has also seen him hold numerous aviation management appointments along with being the former Technical and Air Safety Director and Deputy Chairman for the Guild of Air Pilots and Air Navigators (Australian Region) – now Honourable Company of Air Pilots. Adrian is a qualified Accident Investigator, holds post graduate degree’s in Aviation Management and Safety & Risk Management and in excess of 10,000 hours on 46 different aircraft. Today Adrian sits on various external panels and boards providing aviation advice to government, tertiary institutions and aircraft manufacturers. 

Qantas Group Future Pilot Program

The aviation industry is embarking on an unprecedented pilot resource challenge, prompting different thinking in attraction, training and retention strategies. The Qantas Group recognised that it is essential to attract large numbers of young people into the pilot career over the coming years. To achieve the numbers of new recruits required in the group it is clear that one of the best and most efficient ways to ensure this pipeline is available, is to work with the University sector and to invest and help to develop young pilots into the professionals that will be required. The brains of young people at High School through University and into the early stages of their careers are still developing and Qantas recognised this. So simply applying normal psychometric and other assessment tools will not achieve the required pipeline. It was decided to work with the Universities and students to assess individual developmental needs underpinned by airline pilot mentoring and other assistance to develop the skills required. By doing so over a three year degree the individual develops and eventually the number of highly professional pilots are available to meet future demand.

From a University perspective and from the ICAO NGAP approach this plan by Qantas is revolutionary and reflects the way that The University of Southern Queensland has been advocating for some time. Even in the first year each University has seen an increase in participation and in the quality of work that students are engaged in. The Qantas program adds to our own Professional development system (AIRS) and adds a greater degree of realism so that students know exactly what is expected from them and how they need to develop, and more importantly why. Captain Young and Professor Bates will each discuss their individual organisations approach and how the Universities and Qantas have been able to work together for this unique program.