Emma McGilvery

Emma McGilvery

Emma McGilvrey is a flight attendant with Swoop Airlines

Please prepare for takeoff; your career awaits

Saddle Lake First Nation flight attendant grad living the dream

Waiting for the day the family leaves on vacation can be like waiting on Christmas morning.

The anticipation of shopping in foreign locations, taking in the sights, or just splashing around in the surf on a nice sunny beach can reach giddy proportions.

But for Emma McGilvery, once the family decided on a place to go from their home on the Saddle Lake First Nation northeast of Edmonton, none of those lures took centre stage.

“As a child, the highlight of those trips was always the airport,” she says.

Today, it must feel like Christmas every day for McGilvery. As one of the first graduates of NorQuest College’s Flight Attendant training program, the 21-year-old is in a new airport almost every day.

Now ready to make sure your seatbacks and dinner trays are in the upright position with Swoop Airlines, McGilvery is living a dream she once thought was out of reach.

“I started applying (to airlines) a couple years ago but I wasn’t getting many responses at the start,” she says. “Then I saw the NorQuest ad and that really piqued my interest.”

Soon after learning more about the program, she enrolled hoping it would give her the advantage she needed to fulfil her dream. Did it ever.

“After I completed the program it boosted my confidence to start applying again. I got so many call backs. The NorQuest training helped me stand out over other candidates.”

What was also in McGilvery’s corner was her culture. As the country works hard to remedy hundreds of years of cruel treatment of First Nations Peoples, employers and educators are making concerted efforts to present opportunities to the fastest-growing yet most-underemployed demographic in the Canadian workforce pool.

“It makes me very proud to be Indigenous,” says McGilvery. “There aren’t many Indigenous flight attendants. I hope this helps to shed some light on that.”

Her view is that her success is her whole community’s success. She is wants to be an example for young people like herself to not be afraid to take a chance and showcase the talents they inherently have.

“NorQuest makes it so easy. There is so much help from the instructors and the program was only once a week on Saturdays. It was so flexible that I was able to keep the job I already had while I was in the program. I have been telling everyone from my community about this opportunity.”