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Group promoting careers for women in aviation lands in New Brunswick

Students from Rothesay Netherwood School were told to look to the skies as Elevate Aviation, a group that encourages women to get into the industry, landed at Saint John Regional Airport on Monday as part of a Canada-wide tour.

Students interested in aviation heard from speakers from across the sector, including air traffic controllers, pilots and airplane maintenance techs. Each speaker underlined not only what they do for their job but underscored the need to have a diverse workplace.

The group believes that three of four students who attend the Canada-wide tour will consider a job in aviation.

The latest numbers from Statistics Canada show a lack of diversity among those in aerospace, with few women in the field.

Of all commercial pilots in Canada, only 4.3 per cent are women, along with 15 per cent of air traffic controllers.

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Even recreational licences are affected, with only 65 of 1,227 licences in Canada being held by females.

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According to Kendra Kincade, an air traffic controller and president and CEO of Elevate Aviation, one of the biggest roadblocks in the industry comes from inspiration within the industry. A lack of familiar faces has made the industry daunting for women looking to get into aviation.

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“Research has shown that for women to enter something, they need to see other people who look like them,” said Kincade, speaking from Saint John, N.B., regional airport.

“There’s not enough role models.”

Landing women jobs in all aspects of the industry is something that has been on the mind of those at the airport, who told Global News airlines are reading to ramp up for the summer with a near full workforce across the board. Director of operations Cindy Thorn said that events like the one on Monday open the doors to having a diverse workplace in the airport.

“A lot of times, you’re just given options of your typical white-collar standard positions so this gives an eye opener to students to say, ‘Maybe I can point my studies in this direction because it looks interesting,”’ Thorn said.

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“It’s more than just the flight attendant or the check-in counters. There are aviation mechanics and engineers, and even businesspeople. It shows people the things that go on in aviation.”

Elevate Aviation said that amid the shortage, it’s hoping to use this event to get New Brunswick women into aviation.

“By reaching out to youth, Elevate Aviation’s Cross Country Tour is helping to promote diversity, equity and inclusion in the aviation industry by encouraging the next generation of female pilots, engineers, and aviation professionals,” Emily Reiman, director of diversity, equity and inclusion for Elevate Aviation said in a release.

“We hope to demonstrate to the students that the future of women in aviation is limitless.”

&copy 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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