Photo: Brent Novak, General Manager at Flight Centre and Ali
Brent Novak’s participation in an Ourschool alumni session at Sunshine College led him to offer a work experience placement to Ali, a Year 10 student. Brent, General Manager of Flight Centre Travel Group, and Ali, discuss what that placement meant to them:
BRENT: “When I came back to the school a few months ago to speak to the students I didn’t have any intention of taking on a work experience person. But after meeting Ali and seeing his determination to succeed I thought it would be good to give him the opportunity to see how a large business operates.
“In hindsight I’ve got more out of the work experience week than Ali has. Because it not only reconnects you to your own childhood and aspirations when growing up. It also connects you to hearing how the younger generation are trying to better themselves and forge their own career paths.”
ALI: “It’s been one of the most incredible weeks of my life. I’ve learnt a lot, I’ve learnt about finance, marketing, how to have meetings – meetings discussing issues and challenges that might arise at work.
“I’ve learnt in order to run a big company like this you need to be good with your staff. That’s something that Brent does. He’s polite with staff, he’s got a certain connection with them. . . He makes the workplace a fun place.
“A student might sometimes think that because I live in Sunshine I might not get far but seeing some of the alumni in the alumni program is very encouraging. When I saw Brent come in I was very surprised. It made me think, ‘Wow, I can do something’. It gives students hope; it shows us that we can be something. It gives us motivation.”