Building a diverse and accessible industry - EBAA


Building a diverse and accessible industry

Why equal opportunities and access matter
By Cecilie Oyas, Head of Supply and Charter, Stratajet

Business aviation has developed a reputation over the years of being slightly out of reach for those looking to break into the industry. Yet technology is paving the way for the industry to be reinvigorated by young talent as it enjoys its first surge since the recession.

Aviation has traditionally been a male-dominated industry. There exists a perception that women simply aren’t pilots – or pilots aren’t women – and that’s something I find very hard to accept given how at home I feel when flying.

Admittedly I owe this passion to a male figure in my life; my father is a pilot. In fact I’m one of three daughters but Dad didn’t shy away from including us in his work life, taking us on trips where we would fly with him, stay in hotels, eat ice cream for breakfast and generally do things that our mother wouldn’t approve of!

That experience of flight from a young age stayed with me, and I gravitated towards aviation years later. When I was 24, I attended a talk by a motivational speaker, who lit a fire within me, and I realised my calling. I went home and told my parents that I was giving up university studies in accountancy to train to be a pilot. They were immensely supportive and helped solidify my mind-set.

But few girls and young people are given that kind of exposure, nor the necessary support, to break into the industry. I think this can be attributed to a number of factors, a lack of technology amongst them, particularly in private aviation. This has resulted in a cyclical problem for the industry in attracting both a younger audience and also a younger workforce. In a world of increasing equality in areas like medicine and law, aviation has to increase its diversity to attract the right talent.

For many years, there has been a stigma for the industry in terms of its inaccessibility and therefore inability to attract new customers. The introduction of booking platforms like Stratajet has started shifting the audience towards younger passengers and this can help change the trend of those employed in the industry.

But the industry as a whole could benefit from increased awareness of the careers that are available to youngsters, some of which don’t require a university degree, rather specialist training. Bringing young and diverse talent into aviation can only be a positive thing. It will bring a fresh perspective to this market.

If the industry can further demonstrate how indispensable it is to communities and society as a whole, it can look forward to good times. With the help of young, bright, energetic and creative talent, Business Aviation can fly even higher.

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