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Massey student lands first internship with global helicopter company

Alisa Izumi

Alisa Izumi at PHI International's New Plymouth base.

A Massey University student’s career is off to a flying start as the first intern to be awarded a placement with global helicopter company, PHI International.

Alisa Izumi is studying Aviation Management at the School of Aviation that puts forward its top students exclusively for work experience with affiliated aviation companies.

The opportunity has landed Ms Izumi a three-month role working on a project with PHI’s Nelson-based Safety and Quality team to improve safety at three of its bases in Ghana, Cyprus and Australia. PHI also has bases in New Plymouth, Saudi Arabia and the Philippines.

Ms Izumi was born in Japan and has lived in Palmerston North since the age of three. She credits her heritage and experience of travel from a young age with sparking her interest in aviation.

“Travel has always been a part of my life with Japanese being a part of my background. Ever since I can remember, I have always loved everything about travel – from the experience of being in an airport to arriving somewhere new.

“I remember hearing the saying: ‘Do what you love, and you'll never work another day in your life’ and thinking – that’s what I want out of my career.”

The 20-year-old has worked in a few hospitality and retail roles while studying before realising her heart belonged to aviation. “The global nature of aviation is what most appeals to me – the opportunities are endless.”

She says the culture at PHI is one of the first things that struck her, closely followed by the opportunity to build real-world experience in many aspects of her study.

The project has introduced her to bow-tie methodology, which is a way of identifying and understanding the impacts of hazards and is commonly used in aviation.

“The work I am doing will help ensure the safety management system is in place and the teams have everything they need to prevent incidents occurring,” Ms Izumi says.

“This is my first experience in a corporate environment and the perfect steppingstone into a career in aviation. It’s given me so much more insight and a bigger picture of the industry.”

Anke Smith, the Aviation School’s Business Development and International Programmes Manager, says Ms Izumi’s enthusiasm and excellent academic achievements are among the qualities that help her to stand out.

“Alisa is a self-starter and takes initiative, which is what is needed in a globally successful company like PHI International. As the first helicopter operator to join our network of host organisations, PHI’s involvement opens up a new world of opportunities to our students.

“Being at the coalface of a company like PHI, our students will see first-hand the value it offers its clients and why they keep coming back. They will also get exposure to a highly expert, very diverse workforce from a wide range of backgrounds and experiences.”

Last month PHI announced its partnership with the School of Aviation to offer internships to Aviation Management students and soon, Bachelor of Aviation students, in fields including flight operations, engineering, safety and quality and information technology.

PHI International Safety and Quality Director Rob Cavers says the relationship represents one of the ways PHI is nurturing the next generation of talent in the industry.

“Alisa is the first of many students PHI will help to build the knowledge, analytical and research skills of and help set them up for success and a long and successful career in our diverse and essential industry. We are delighted to have Alisa on board and she has already impressed us with her commitment and passion to learn and contribute positively to a project that will improve safety in our business.

"We are excited to build a long-term relationship with the School of Aviation and play a role in educating and training the industry’s future leaders.”

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