Low-cost airlines are increasingly looking within to fill vacancies. EasyJet’s Helen Buckingham made the leap from cabin crew to marketing co-ordinator

How did you get into the aviation industry?

I joined EasyJet as cabin crew in July 1998 and immediately fell in love with the industry. There was such a great team atmosphere and an exciting buzz of activity in the airport. Before EasyJet I enjoyed numerous customer-facing and administrative roles, but I had “itchy feet” and wanted to experience something totally new.

It was my childhood dream to be an “air hostess” – I was impressed by the way cabin crew calmed nervous passengers, occupied young children and dealt with difficult passengers – always with a smile. They perform several roles all in one, which I felt suited my personality.

How easy was the switch from crew to an office role?

I gained promotion to senior cabin crew after just 18 months and the responsibility really boosted my confidence, so by 2001 I was ready to move on in my career.

I found EasyJet offered much more help than I expected. With the continuous expansion of the company came numerous opportunities to progress into different roles within head office.

I am currently working in flightcrew recruitment and have recently been promoted to a lead co-ordinator role focusing on marketing and communications.

Moving was by no means straightforward and I was certainly put though my paces during interviews, tests and group exercises.

How do the roles compare?

As cabin crew I constantly had to use my own initiative, solve problems and work quickly under pressure – those skills have now been transferred to the fast-paced office environment.

I initially found the change quite difficult, as I didn’t really appreciate how much time off I had as crew, with standbys and the mixture of late and early starts. Even though I was no longer getting up at 4am I felt like I was on an early every day.

It didn’t take long to get into the swing of it and, with a mixture of old and new skills, I was soon running assessment days and dealing with all sorts of paperwork and enquiries. My job now is great as I still get to meet new people and travel a bit too!

What advice would you give someone looking to follow a similar career path?

For anyone interested in making the same move, my advice would be to keep your options, eyes and ears open. Show your interest. If there is a particular department that interests you then perhaps pay them a visit, make enquires and ask if you can shadow them for a day.

Within EasyJet there are ex-cabin crew in a variety of different positions including; training, crewing/rostering, safety & security. If positions are advertised, don’t be afraid to go for them, as you never know where it could lead.



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Source: Flight International