3 October 2023

Plan launched to attract more women to thriving aviation sector

| Andrew McLaughlin
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female engineer at work

Women make up between four and 21 per cent of many of the skilled trades in the aviation sector. Photo: Sikorsky Australia.

A strategic action plan launched by the Federal Government is designed to drive cultural change in aviation that will encourage more women to explore a career in the industry.

The plan draws on lessons from the Women in the Aviation Industry Initiative which, since 2019, has invested $3.1 million to support a range of activities designed to encourage girls and women to pursue long-term career opportunities in aviation.

The latest plan aims to build on the work done to date. It says that in 2021–22 women represented between 4.1 per cent and 21.1 per cent of employees in aviation sector roles which have traditionally been dominated by men, including air traffic control, pilots, mechanics and engineers.

In identifying priorities including the need for cultural change to ensure women are welcomed into the sector, boost diversity and encourage more women to pursue jobs in the aviation sector, the new plan will provide more mentoring, guidance and networking opportunities.

It will also look to:

  • Increase female representation across the aviation workforce;
  • Attract and retain more women into critical careers in aviation such as engineering, airport operations and air crew;
  • Develop and provide resources and strategies to help women build careers in the industry and improve their economic security; and
  • Leverage the largely untapped pool of talented and skilled women and direct them to where they are needed within the industry.

The plan will make available $1.3 million in 2024-25 to fund activities relating to leadership and culture, visibility and awareness, collaboration and continuous improvement. The Government is expected to seek proposals for projects in October.

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These activities will provide guidance and focus for the next four years of the Women in the Aviation Industry Initiative, and seek immediate outcomes as well as sustained, generational change. The plan will also need to respond to changing needs over time.

It is estimated that, in collaboration with industry partners and representatives, the initiative has reached more than 200,000 women and girls, directly engaging with and mentoring more than 30,000 students, parents, teachers and career advisers.

In the plan’s foreword, Minister for Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government Catherine King said the demand for technicians and professionals across aviation was strong.

“Having a pipeline of skilled workers to meet this demand will be critical for the sector, now and into the future,” she said.

“Now, more than ever, it is important the aviation industry recognises and embraces the contribution Australian women can make toward meeting future skills demand and securing a better and brighter future for the industry.

“By attracting, training and retaining women across the industry we can ensure that sector continues to thrive.

“The Australian Government’s Women in the Aviation Industry Initiative can help drive this change, and this strategic action plan will provide the necessary guidance and focus.”

The strategic action plan is available to read here.

Original Article published by Andrew McLaughlin on Riotact.

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