Sydney Flight College has awarded its first Women Pilot Scholarship in partnership with the Australian Women Pilots’ Association (AWPA) to encourage female participation in aviation.
The Bankstown-based flight school has pledged to provide two scholarships per year to women enrolled in its CPL Diploma course.
The scholarship covers the gap between the selected student’s HECS/HELP loan from the government and the total cost of completing the course — meaning the selected student does not need to pay out of pocket to study.
Women continue to make up just 5 per cent of the global pilot cohort, and also remain underrepresented in aeronautical engineering. Airlines, flight schools and industry associations have been working hard to increase female participation in the sector.
The inaugural SFC Women Pilot Scholarship was awarded to incoming student Leigh Taylor, who was selected by parties from both SFC and the AWPA.
Each scholarship is awarded based on the results of a screening process, SFC said, which includes a number of written and oral assessments as well as an initial flight.
Taylor was commemorated at an event held at the flight school, which was also attended by Matt Hall Racing aerobatic pilot Emma McDonald and AWPA National President Barbara Trappett.
The scholarship was one of a number of new initiatives introduced by SFC earlier this year to help encourage the next generation of Indigenous and female pilots begin their career in aviation, including a scholarship for incoming Indigenous students, and a video feature on its female staff and students.
SFC said at the time that it believes its Indigenous Scholarship for pilot training is the first of its kind in Australia.
“What we’re really trying to do with these scholarships is to raise awareness and attract women pilots and Indigenous pilots into the industry, who otherwise might have not seen it as an opportunity open to them,” said SFC chief executive Joseph Pilo.
“When it comes to flight training, there’s no difference or distinction between a male or a female. At the end of the day, they get trained the same. It’s the same syllabus, they fly the same aircraft.
“So if we want more diversity in the industry, this is where we start.”