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New airport groundswoman puts her tractor skills to good use

News | Published:

NEW airport ground staff employee Courtney Watts has found a job where she can put her tractor driving skills to good use.

New airport grounds keeper Courtney Watts is believed to be the first woman to take on the role. (Picture by Steve Sarre, 24338420)

The 21-year-old said she has always enjoyed outdoor work and has experience of dairy and agricultural farming.

She applied for the job for a change from farm work and, following a week at her new job, is excited for the challenges ahead.

‘It’s been really good,’ she said.

‘I’ve done a bit of grass mowing and am learning to speak between grounds and the control tower,’ she said.

Operating supervisor Bob Twist said Courtney will have a lot to learn and will be under the guidance of fellow ground staff worker Andy Parr.

‘It’s all the land management, so she will be involved with all types of work.

‘No two days are the same and it keeps you completely interested in everything,’ he said.

Tasks Courtney will be working on include germination of the land, mowing, changing of pipes and repairing of fences, among a host of other tasks.

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‘I really enjoyed working with the people right away and the job is so varied,’ she said.

The grounds team work in all weathers, with the only time they are unable to work outdoors being when weather conditions mean the tower is unable to see them.

‘I have always been around farms and have been driving tractors from as soon as my legs were long enough to touch the pedals,’ she said.

‘I was excited to start, it’s completely different from being on an agricultural field – there are different aspects and lots to learn.’

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Courtney said she was particularly looking forward to getting to grips with the radio, which the ground staff use to communicate with the airport’s control tower to keep them up to date with where the ground staff are working.

‘It will be a big learning curve but I’m excited to pick it up,’ she said.

She liked seeing the different aircraft coming in and out of the airport.

‘The helicopter take-offs are really cool,’ she said.

It is believed that Courtney is the first woman to take on the role and she hoped other young women will be encouraged to apply for whatever career they set their heart on.

‘Just don’t ever let your sex come into it,’ she said.

‘When we advertise, the position is open to anybody, no discrimination,’ said Bob.

‘Courtney ticked all the boxes and got the job on merit and nothing else,’ he said.

Bob said that all across the aviation sector, jobs advertised were open to anyone fit for the task.

‘What matters is that you can do the job,’ he said.

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