From TAFE to CEO – How I got there

The Gordon celebrates 130 years in 2017. So each month, we‘re introducing some of the faces that have studied with us over the years to share where they are today, and how they got there.
Name: Justin Giddings
Studied: Advanced Diploma of Management
Year: 2000
Now: CEO of Avalon Airport and Gordon Board Chair

As a young man, what did you want to be when you grew up?

I really wanted to be a primary school teacher, however after completing my VCE I missed out on university. I still often think it would be good to be an economics teacher.

You studied at The Gordon as a mature-age student. What career did you start in, and what was your motivation to return to study?

I originally started as an Aircraft Maintenance Engineer (AME) at Avalon Airport. When I married in 1998, I knew I had to make a career change. I enrolled at The Gordon in 1999 and have never looked back.

How did your study experience prepare you for the                                                          career you have today?

It was a fantastic course and I attended two nights a week over two years.  I met a lot of good people who were all in a similar career situation as me.  By that, I mean looking for promotions or a change in career. Having fellow students around me was great support.
I struggled early on at The Gordon, especially coping with new technologies and working through the homework.  But after The Gordon I gained automatic entry to Deakin where I was eventually awarded entry into the Golden Key International Honour Society. My Gordon grounding was critical to my further academic success.

What does an average day look like as CEO of Avalon Airport, and what key skills do you need in this role?

It’s a role with a lot of variety. I probably only spend half of my time in the office, other times I’m meeting people either in the terminal in Geelong or Melbourne, or sometimes interstate or overseas.

What are the most exciting or rewarding aspects                                                                       of your role?

Being part of team success is easily the most rewarding aspect of being a CEO.  Over the last eight years we have secured a long-term deal with Jetstar, leading to more flights and destinations. 

Some achievements can only occur after a long battle, but the tougher the fight, the more satisfying the outcome.

This will be your fifth year as a member of The Gordon Board. As the current Chairperson, what excites you most about The Gordon’s future?  

The enormous opportunities for growth.  Last year we opened two new campuses in Wyndham and in 2018 we will have a new Tech School.  We are very keen to encourage more international students to the region, and broadening our range of courses.

If you could pass on one piece of wisdom to those currently making study or career decisions, what would it be?

Never ever give up. If you don’t succeed getting into a course there is always another path, and the experience may present other opportunities and make you a better person.
I am so much better off, having missed out on university after VCE.
I wouldn’t change a thing. 

Posted: 27/01/2017 3:03:53 PM



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About The Gordon

The Gordon Institute of TAFE is one of the largest regional TAFEs in Victoria and has been helping people gain real skills for real jobs for over 130 years. We pride ourselves on delivering a great range of TAFE courses from short courses to nationally accredited training across apprenticeships, traineeships, certificates, diplomas, and advanced diplomas, which can lead you to a great career or create pathways to university.

Our training is delivered with Victorian and Commonwealth Government funding. | Authorised by the Victorian Government, Melbourne.

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