Aer Lingus partners with the Irish Girl Guides to encourage more girls to consider careers as pilots and engineers

Longford Leader reporter

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Aer Lingus has partnered with the Irish Girl Guides to create the ‘Aviation Badge’, which aims to engage girls from a young age with the aviation sector, by building interest and foundation for future study in STEM subjects and encouraging them to consider future careers in the aviation industry.

Irish Girl Guides has approximately 12,000 members in Ireland. The partnership will provide a structured introduction to aviation with the creation of three Aviation badges, one for each level of Girl Guide: Ladybirds (aged 5 – 7); Brownies (aged 7 -10); and Guides (aged 10-14).

A bespoke, age-appropriate curriculum has been developed by Aer Lingus and Irish Girl Guides. Ladybirds must colour in a picture of an aircraft and make an object that flies such as a paper plane or kite. Brownies are required to research different careers linked with aviation and air transportation, investigate innovative women in the history of aviation and learn the phonetic language of Aviation. Girl Guides must research the pilot profession, including what education and skills are required; put their engineering skills to the test by creating their own aircraft experiments and challenge them to think of things that fly and how.

Aer Lingus has a strong track record of supporting female pilots: it was the first airline in Europe to employ a female pilot, and currently, employs twice as many female pilots when compared with the international airline industry average. Aer Lingus is making a concerted effort to encourage a greater number of women to apply for roles that have traditionally been male-dominated via their Aer Lingus Future Pilot Programme, the Aer Lingus Apprenticeship Scheme as well as opportunities in airline operations.

Brian Bowden, Chief People Officer for Aer Lingus said:

“Aer Lingus is committed to employing a greater number of women in technology roles that have traditionally been seen as male dominated. We want to encourage girls to study STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) subjects and consider aviation. Just over 5 per cent of airline pilots worldwide are female and only 16 per cent of engineering graduates in Ireland are female. Only by encouraging greater female interest and applications to these roles can we address the gender imbalance. We’re delighted to partner and support the Irish Girl Guides to create the Aviation Badge, which will introduce and engage girls with the hugely dynamic and rewarding aviation industry.”

Helen Concannon, Chief Commissioner for the Irish Girl Guides said:

“Irish Girl Guides are delighted to partner with Aer Lingus on the development of Aviation badges. We love to encourage our girls to aim high and reduce stereotypes. Our programme develops their confidence and a self-belief that they can be anything they want to be. However, it is hard to be something you can’t see and this partnership enables us to show our members the variety of things they can be in the aviation industry.”