Swinburne University in Melbourne will offer a scholarship for women studying aviation.
The scholarship, worth $6,500 and funded by the International Aviation Women’s Association (IAWA), is open to both domestic and international women students completing full-time undergraduate or postgraduate aviation courses.
Swinburne University said it was the first university in the Asia Pacific region to offer a new aviation scholarship for women.
“Over the past few years, Swinburne has been committed to improving opportunities for women in science, technology, education and mathematics (STEM),” Swinburne Department of Aviation chair Professor Zheng Lei said in a statement on Tuesday.
“This new scholarship will enable young women to reach their full academic potential and realise their passion for an aviation career by subsidising their study costs.”
Across the industry currently, about five per cent of pilots are women, while the figure is lower for technical jobs such as aircraft maintenance engineers.
Boeing’s 2018-2037 Pilot and Technician Outlook has forecast the aviation industry will require 790,000 new pilots over the next 20 years in response to a doubling of the fleet and record demand in air travel.
The figure comprised 635,000 commercial pilots, 96,000 business pilots and 59,000 helicopter pilots.
Meanwhile, there would be 754,000 new aviation technicians needed over the coming two decades split between commercial aviation (622,000), business aviation (89,000) and the helicopter sector (43,000).
In order to find the required workers to meet the expected growth in aviation, airlines, workshops and air traffic managers have been focused on increasing the pool of candidates from which they recruit.
Encouraging more women to consider a job in these sectors loomed as a key plank of meeting that target.
Swinburne said the idea for the scholarship arose after a number of its students met Fedex Express vice president for safety and airworthiness, air operations, Bobbi Wells, who is also IAWA president elect, during a overseas study tour.
Wells then took the matter up with the IAWA board.
IAWA vice president, next generation, Kathryn Callahan explained: “The IAWA board was impressed with the diversity and global outreach efforts of Swinburne University of Technology and believes it is important during the course of a career to develop a professional network, have contacts, and build presence in the industry.”
“Through our scholarship programs, IAWA is able to support the development of women who are passionate about careers in aviation and aerospace.”
Applications are open until January 31 2019.
More details are available on the Swinburne website.