Mr McWilliam last week visited students of aviation studies at Melville Senior High School with colleagues Captain Yale Simpson and first officers Joe Metcalf and Graham Watts.
All four pilots, who now work for Qantas, are former students of the specialist program that has been running at Melville SHS since 1984.
It is one of only four schools in WA with an aviation specialist program and was the first to have a moving flight simulator. It now has two for students to learn on.
Program co-ordinator and pilot Randall Brink said students in the program were able to start flying from the age of 15 and got the chance to fly with him or teacher Brendan Wallis from Year 8.
The program will be open to Year 7 students from next year.
A purpose-built Aviation Centre within the school houses most of the program. Remaining course time is spent at airports and in the skies above Perth.
Mr McWilliam told the students the hardest part was getting the first job and outlined the pathway he had taken to get into the industry.
Capt Simpson, who has been working for Qantas since 1994, said there was a predicted pilot shortage coming up as many pilots in the same age bracket were due to retire.
All four pilots are based in Perth and fly Boeing 737s.