Take off: supporting girls with aviation aspirations
Programs targeting high school-aged girls who hope to pursue STEM-based careers will soon launch in Australia.
Western Sydney Women and Mentoring Women will be rolling out the Women in Aviation, The Future is Bright and Ladies Who Lead initiatives nationwide to raise awareness of and support entry into aviation careers.
Starting with a Ladies Who Lead program in NSW in June, followed by a rollout in Queensland and Victoria, the programs will target high school-aged girls and women with mentoring, resources and opportunities to realise their aviation career goals. The programs are all free of charge, with women and girls supported by experienced female mentors in aviation to build the connections, knowledge and confidence they need to succeed.
“[With] the Future is Bright in Aviation program, we are empowering high school-aged girls to pursue rewarding careers in STEM, with a focus on aviation,” said founder Amanda Rose.
“Likewise, Women in Aviation is aimed at women in their mid to late 20s not currently studying or working in the industry to get a head start on their dream job in aviation. However, mentees can be both studying aviation or completely new to the industry.”
On top of months of extensive mentoring by experienced mentors in aviation, participants will be offered access to extensive resources and opportunities to realise their aviation career goals.
Not just limited to piloting an aircraft, aviation has a diverse range of career pathways that include engineering, maintenance, administration, security, technology, teaching and more. One such example is Women in Aviation program manager Georgia Wales, who first began working in cybersecurity for Qantas before going on to complete her Commercial Pilots Licence in 2020.
Though female pilot numbers are increasing, the existing gender gap is significant and the barriers for entry for women are still quite high. The International Society of Women Airline Pilots (ISWAP) estimates that as of January 2020, there are only 9746 female airline pilots, making up 5.26% of the total. Of these, only 2630 (1.42%) are captains. Data shows that across the board, women in the aviation world are chronically underrepresented in a field where there is a constant demand for highly skilled professionals.
The skills shortage in aviation is a driver of multiple government initiatives to shore up the number of trained workers, with women being a key demographic for extra funding and support. These programs are a continuation of the federal government’s Women in Aviation Initiative to encourage more girls and women to consider the aviation industry for a career.
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