Would You Like Coffee, Tea or Counselling?Webmaster
Could you imagine a flight without the reassuring and helpful presence of flight attendants? A vital part of the cabin crew, they emanate style and professionalism. Besides offering us coffee, tea and other refreshments, they also teach us about staying calm under pressure and we look to them as leaders in the air.
With 12 years of experience, Azwan Muhammad works as a purser at AirAsia X Berhad. Pursers are senior flight attendants with additional management responsibilities and tasks.
Azwan, 41, enjoys his work but a few years ago, another field caught his eye. “Although I have a great job, I am also very interested in counselling,” he said.
He started searching for a suitable university to earn the necessary qualifications. “I wanted an MQA-accredited programme that is also flexible so that I could continue working. The best I could find was Master of Counselling at OUM.”
After enrolling in 2019, he soon discovered that his classes offered real-time knowledge. “All my lecturers are mental health practitioners and registered counsellors. So when they came to class, they discussed real-life cases.”
Even his peers presented opportunities to learn something new. “Coming from vastly different backgrounds, we shared our different working experiences in relation to the lesson at hand. We never skipped a class, even if it took up several hours.”
However, Azwan also had to walk through fire to prove his commitment. “I had no choice but to sacrifice my flying allowance so that I could attend weekend classes. This meant a whopping 30% salary reduction. And then I had to take 7 months of unpaid leave to do my internship.
“However, I never regretted it. As I learnt in a counselling therapy class, we are responsible for the choices we make.”
Azwan’s sacrifices paid off handsomely when he graduated last October.
“After studying for just 2 years, I’m now a flying cabin crew with a counselling licence. I can do what I have long wanted – practise as a freelance counsellor.”
He has bigger dreams still. “My next plan is to pursue a PhD. One day, I’m going to be a professional mental health practitioner and lecturer. Wish me luck!”