Airways Aviation champions female pilots.

Thursday 8th March 2018

  • Airways Aviation
  • BWPA
  • Airways Aviation award

Awards two ab initio EASA scholarships towards ATPL worth £35,000

Airways Aviation announced today (8th March) two recipients of its new female ab initio pilot scholarship, Hanna Gillam and Jessica Waite, to coincide with International Women's Day.

The £35,000 scholarship programme, created in collaboration with the British Women Pilots' Association (BWPA), was announced last October to help encourage more female pilots. Some 100 candidates attended a careers day held at Airways' base at London Oxford Airport in the UK to register interest.

After being shortlisted to sit the industry-standard COMPASS test, Hanna and Jessica were required to attend a panel interview, give a presentation and take part in a group exercise. They both scored highly on each task and progressed to a final round of one-to-one interviews at Oxford.

"We could not determine which of the highest-scoring candidates to go with, so the Board decided to offer two scholarships in 2018," said Marwan Atalla, Airways Aviation CEO. "With our global scholarship programme being rolled out around the world, and now with this new dedicated female scholarship in the UK, Airways Aviation is proud to be pushing for equal opportunities and reducing the barriers to entering what has typically been a male-dominated profession."

Hanna and Jessica's scholarships will go towards an Airways Aviation EASA pilot training course. After completing the theory component at Airways' Oxford base, they will move on to Huesca-Pirineos Airport to undertake practical flight training.

BWPA's Chairwoman Julie Westhorp, a former commercial airline pilot and current flight instructor and examiner, commented: "We are delighted to partner with Airways Aviation, who share our desire to encourage more female pilots globally. Only 3% of the world's pilot workforce today is female, and we believe the key reason for these low numbers is a lack of visible role models, not a lack of ability."

About the scholars

Jessica Waite, born in Basildon, Essex, attends Anglo European School, where she is currently undertaking A-Levels in Chemistry, Sociology, Politics and Mathematics.  Now in her fifth year as an Air Cadet at 2393 Billericay Squadron, she holds the rank of Sergeant and is involved with teaching other cadets. Jessica also enjoys a part-time administrative role at North Weald airfield. "After completing this course, which is such an amazing opportunity, I hope to work for a major airline," she says.

Hanna Gillam, from Woolton Hill near Newbury, attended St. Gabriel's School and moved on to sit her A levels at St Batholomew's School sixth form before working abroad. Hanna has been passionate about aviation from a young age. Her late grandfather founded and ran a flying school at Headcorn, Kent, while her late step-grandmother was a former chair of the BWPA. Both her parents held private pilot's licences. At 16, Hanna signed up to be an RAF Air Cadet, where she achieved a gliding and flying scholarship.

In 2017, her membership with the Air League led her to an inspirational talk on 'Women with Wings,' where she heard about the Airways Aviation scholarship. Hanna would like to thank the Air League, former BWPA Chairwoman Pauline Vahey for highlighting the scholarship opportunity and Airways Aviation for helping realise her dream. Her long-term ambition is to fly long-haul aircraft.

About Airways Aviation

Airways Aviation brings more than 30 years' aviation experience to offer world-class pilot training for aspiring pilots from a number of global locations.

From entry-level theory to the Airline Transport Pilot Licence (ATPL), Airways Aviation prepares students for a life-long career in aviation.  It offers EASA accredited pilot training at its purpose-built academies at London Oxford Airport, UK and Huesca-Pirineos Airport, Spain, complemented by pilot training in Australia, which is Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) accredited.

Its Elite Pathways Programme is its full-time EASA Integrated pilot training course.  It takes an ab initio to qualified commercial pilot with a 'frozen' Airline Transport Pilot Licence (ATPL). On graduation, students will be ready to begin an airline career.


The British Women Pilots' Association

Formed in 1955, the BWPA was founded ten years after World War II Air Transport Auxiliary (ATA) women pilots had been thanked for their services to their country, been patted on the head and told to go back to their kitchens.  Its 300-strong membership comprises student pilots, airline captains, military pilots and flying instructors.  As a voluntary organisation, BWPA exists to support women who fly or who are learning to fly, and to encourage participation in aviation by women who have yet to try it. Members are of all ages, experience and backgrounds, but they share a common passion.

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