Question

I’m an aspiring pilot, however, the only way I can become a pilot is through the CAE Woman in Flight Scholarship Programme. I understand that thousands will apply for this and only 5 are lucky enough to receive it. I was wondering what kind of activities and/or hobbies I could do to make myself stand out from the crowd as I’m 19 and believe this puts me at a disadvantage due to my lack of life experience.


Answer

Thank you for writing to us about the CAE Woman in Flight Scholarship. As I am sure you are aware aviation is in a bit of a struggle at the moment.
The CAE Woman in Flight Scholarship Programme may sadly also be impacted by Covid-19. Easyjet for example has closed the MPL training route so it would, in our view, be difficult to justify if Easyjet too part in the Woman in Flight sponsored scheme for the time being.
Good times will be back and as the recent message from the UK Pilot union BALPA suggest, now is not a good time to become a pilot. If you do decide to become a pilot, BALPA’s recommendation is to do it the modular route with another avenue (education) to fall back on.
Here is a link to our youtube video where we are making comments on the announcement and also one about becoming a pilot in 2020, 2021.
Sponsored pilot training like the Woman in Flight programme is really rare to find. Also cadet schemes in general tend to only be available when the Aviation Market is doing well. A lot of different reports suggests that it may be 3- 4 years before the good times (for pilots) are back. This sounds about right in our view as the Aviation market first needs to recover and then most of the unemployed experienced pilots need to be re-hired. After that we hope that it starts becoming possible again for new graduated pilots to get a realistic chance of finding employment as a pilot.
In regards to interests that could help you to stand out from the crowd of applicants. We think that the most important thing is that your interest is something that is really “you”. There is no point in trying to do something that you don’t like as it will be really easy to spot. So find something you are passionate about. If you are really into flying, then maybe taking up glider flying may be a way to get into Aviation and it may also make you stand out a little bit, in particular if you get into doing competitions as a glider pilot.
While you may feel at the moment that a sponsored route via the CAE Woman in Flight Scholarship, is the only way to become a pilot, once you become part of the Aviation family, you may get a network and inspiration to train in another way. This could for example be applying for a sponsored PPL in the UK. It is still tough to get, but a lot easier than the CAE Woman in Flight Scholarship Programme. Once you have your PPL, you could build up your experience (hours) and maybe have a job where you can put money aside for a commercial pilot course. The route I am describing here is the “modular training route”.
We understand if you find it difficult to know all the options of how to become a pilot. An easy way to get an overview could be reading our book about How do I become a pilot
While we know that this reply may not be what you had hoped for in regards to the CAE Woman in Flight Scholarship, we still hope our honesty and suggestions will help you to reach your dream of becoming a pilot.
Happy Landings
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