Buninyong teen Corey Loader is going to build an aeroplane in a week and watch it fly in a unique work experience opportunity in the aviation industry.
Corey, 18, is one of 25 young people chosen from across Australia to take part in the unique project, which will see a BushCat ultralight kit aircraft assembled during the AirVenture Australia event in Parkes, NSW.
The Ballarat Specialist School student counts aviation as one of his passions in life and has been learning to fly for the past four years, but his experience of aircraft building is limited to one model plane.
"I'm going to be building a functional aeroplane with 24 other people and support from people who know what they are doing," Corey said.
"The only time I ever built a plane before was a model, and that was once."
Corey's mum Coral saw an ad for the AirVenture work experience program and Corey, who has autism, was keen to give it a go.
"There aren't many work places that accept people with a disability for work experience perhaps because they think they are going to break us or scared we will break something," Corey said.
The family will leave on the weekend for the long drive to Parkes where the work experience begins on Monday.
"With flying Corey thinks he will never be able to get a licence, so we have had a big discussion about how the aviation world is so much bigger than just being an air hostess or flying the aeroplane, that there are different jobs out there and you can maybe do those as a job to earn money to keep flying as a hobby," Mrs Loader said.
Mrs Loader said Corey was a visual learner and thrived when someone showed him what to do and patience.
"Work experience is about exposing someone to the experience to see if they have the ability to do it and to learn about doing it," she said.
There aren't many work places that accept people with a disability for work experience perhaps because they think they are going to break us or scared we will break something.Corey Loader
AirVenture Australia director David Young said the program was designed to give young people a taste of aviation and the aerospace industry.
"The program is far greater than just building or assembling the aircraft. They learn to work with people they've never worked opposite before, work with instructors and supervisors they've never met, work as a team in a project environment to tight deadlines - it mimics a workplace," he said.
The 25 young builders will be put in to teams to build a part of the aircraft starting on Monday, then on Friday the aircraft will be assembled, it will be finished on Saturday and the plan is for the maiden flight to take place on Sunday during the airshow.
Also taking part in the show is Australian pilot Matt Hall, who this week won the Red Bull Air Race world championship, and is one of Corey's pilot heroes.
Corey is hoping to meet his idol, who a few weeks ago sent him an autographed hat after Corey was awarded the prestigious Queens Scout award during a ceremony at NSW's Government House.
"I haven't actually met him but he heard about by Queens Scout award and gave me a hat to encourage me to keep flying," Corey said. Hall also gave him a voucher for a flight "as encouragement to keep living the dream," Mrs Loader said.
The work experience week tops off a massive few weeks for Corey, who has autism. It started with the Queens Scout award ceremony in Sydney last month, followed by a lead role in the Ballarat Specialist School's production of Grease, barista training, and a two-day boot camp for his role in the Wizard of Oz production in Melbourne next July.
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