Winner of aviation diversity scholarship announced

written by Adam Thorn | July 27, 2020

An Indian management student who migrated to Australia six years ago has become the inaugural recipient of a UNSW scholarship designed to open up aviation to under-represented groups.

Sydney Airport will pay for Manmeet Kaur to study at the university’s School of Aviation in a scheme that the business hopes will run every year for 100 years.

The airport’s chief executive, Geoff Culbert, said the SYD100 initiative “provides under-represented groups in our industry with access to the education they need, including people with diverse cultural backgrounds, women and Indigenous students”.

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Kaur is a first-year aviation management student at UNSW, and migrated to Australia from India six years ago.

She attended high school in Western Australia and is an ex-Cadet Under Officer in the Australian Air Force Cadets.

“The thrill of flying is what draws me to aviation,” Kaur said. “I’ve been involved in civil and military aviation both through my family and my time in the cadets. This scholarship means a lot to me and brings me immense positivity, especially during times of a global pandemic.”

Manmeet Kaur, the recipient of the inaugural SYD100 scholarship, and Geoff Culbert, CEO of Sydney Airport.

Last year, Australian Aviation reported that the International Air Transport Association (IATA) launched a similar campaign to expand the number of women employed in aviation by 25 per cent over the next five years, with a particular focus on under-represented areas such as pilots and senior executives.

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Called 25by2025, the campaign is a voluntary commitment by participating IATA member airlines, with the likes of China Eastern, Lufthansa Group and Qatar Airways already signed up.

While there was currently no comprehensive airline industry-wide gender diversity reporting, IATA said the best estimates showed women made up about 5 per cent of the global pilot population and 3 per cent of aviation chief executives.

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