Aspiring pilot Olivia lands coveted aviation scholarship
Only five per cent of professional pilots in the UK are women but a 20-year-old from Hoby is doing her level best to help redress the balance.
Student, Olivia Brown, has beaten off competition from hundreds of other applicants across the nation to land a prestigious British Women Pilots’ Association (BWPA) Flying High Scholarship.
She is already a licenced pilot and this scholarship is to support her in gaining further qualifications towards her ultimate aim of becoming a commercial airline pilot.
Olivia, a member of 1279 (Melton Mowbray) ATC Squadron, said it was ‘a great honour’ and commented: “This scholarship will enable me to pursue my dream of becoming a commercial pilot.
“It has given me the boost I needed to be able to continue flying and achieve my next goals towards my Airline Transport Pilot Licence.
“I want to say a big thank you to the BWPA for this opportunity and for awarding me this scholarship.”
Olivia, who has just completed her first year studying a degree in air transport with commercial piloting training at Buckinghamshire New University, is a member of the Oxford University Air Squadron, an RAF volunteer reserve unit for students.
She added: “I thoroughly encourage anyone to go and experience a flight and I hope to inspire other young aspiring pilots to go and achieve their goals in aviation.”
The BWPA offers scholarships every year to support women in the UK in achieving their flying dreams, underlying its key aim to promote their training and employment within the sector.
For this reason, a proportion of the association’s membership fees is used to fund scholarships.
Well over 200 women from across the UK applied for the scholarships through submitting information on their current aviation experience, what they enjoy most about flying, why they believe they deserve the award and how they would use the award if successful.
They were shortlisted by a panel of judges who determined which of the candidates showed the most promise for their future flying.
BWPA chair, Sharon Nicholson, said: “Only five to six per cent of professional pilots in the UK and worldwide are women and the percentages in general aviation are similar.
“Much of this is due to lack of information and opportunity.
“For the second year in a row, the BWPA has seen a large increase in the number of applications for this round of scholarships.
“The winners are all extremely impressive individuals who are already giving a great deal to aviation, including encouraging other women to consider flying as a hobby or career.
“We hope these scholarships will support them in achieving their ambitions and continuing to inspire others.”.