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Hunter girls with a mission to soar


RDA Hunter’s ME Program’s latest initiative, Girls With A Mission, aims to increase female student awareness of aviation and electrotechnology skills.

Delivered in partnership with TAFE NSW, it also hopes to boost careers in the aviation industry locally.

Four girls from each of five Hunter high schools – Callaghan College Waratah, Cardiff, Maitland, Maitland Grossmann and Toronto – attended the Aviation Skills Hub at TAFE NSW Newcastle for the two-day workshop.

All the inaugural participants of Girls With A Mission.

Guided by TAFE NSW teachers and representatives from the industry – BAE Systems, Lockheed Martin Australia, Women in Aviation Australian Chapter, Boeing Defence Australia, University of Newcastle (Aerospace Engineering) and FlyPelican, the pupils constructed an F22 model airplane and test-flew it on a scenario-based aid mission.

The youngsters were also treated to career presentations.

“Our programs, delivered in partnership with local industry and educators, help build the defence industry and aerospace workforce of the future,” RDA Hunter’s CEO and director of regional development Trevor John said.

“We’ve been successful in inspiring students to study STEM subjects at school and higher education and consider careers in the sector locally.

“Girls With A Mission is the latest activity in the ME Program suite.

“Aimed specifically at female pupils, the exciting and sought-after initiative gives girls hands-on experience, helps them use their STEM skills in practical applications and connects them with local industry – their potential future employers.”

TAFE NSW director for aviation and aerospace Andrew Trease said the program provided a unique opportunity for pupils from the area to get a taste of what an aviation career was about.

“It’s great to see so many TAFE NSW industry connections come together to explain what aviation has to offer, from engineering, cabin crew, ground crew or flying drones,” he explained.

“It has been a long time coming and a lot of work.

“Still, we are thrilled to have female students from these local schools take part and encourage them to consider a VET pathway to aviation and help advance female representation in the industry.”

Callaghan College Waratah youngsters take flight.

TAFE NSW Newcastle is the location of the region’s first Aviation Delivery Hub.

The new purpose-built facility will help launch thousands of aviation careers in Newcastle and throughout the state.

“This hub will deliver a suite of courses to help anyone interested in aviation and aerospace get on the right path for a rewarding career,” Mr Trease said.

According to Cardiff High School teacher Adam Ross, programs like Girls With A Mission have a positive impact on females who are considering choosing science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) studies in their senior school years.

“Activities that engage pupils in the practical applications of STEM are really valuable in helping them commit to further study in the area,” he said.

“The opportunity to work in teams, connect directly with industry and put their technical skills into action is an important motivator.”

Girls With A Mission industry partner Women in Aviation (WAI) Australian Chapter NSW chair Grace Walker echoed those sentiments.

“WAI Australia provides a national platform that represents all facets of the aviation and aerospace industry,” she explained.

“We work to engage and inspire the next generation of leaders.

“Being able to support likeminded bodies with events such as Girls With A Mission to encourage and attract girls and women into the industry is an extremely important part of that work.

“Our platform also provides mentoring and scholarships to assist women develop and refine their skills in readiness for careers in aviation.”

RDA Hunter will continue to develop its successful ME Program suite of activities in response to the requirements of the Hunter-based defence and aviation industry.

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