Aviation, a field often considered distant to many students from underprivileged backgrounds, is now becoming an attainable dream thanks to the South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA). SACAA, in collaboration with Beautiful Gate, recently organized an Aviation Youth Show on Friday, September 22nd, targeting high-school students from Philippi and its neighbouring communities. The event aimed to pique their interest in aviation careers.
The Aviation Youth Show drew students from Grades 10 to 12, offering them a unique opportunity to explore the world of aviation. Paballo Makgato, the Aviation Development Stakeholder Relations Officer at SACAA, emphasized the event’s significance in engaging with the community and empowering young individuals.
Makgato explained that their objective was to showcase the diverse career opportunities within the aviation industry. Often misconceived as solely about piloting, the industry encompasses various sectors, including aircraft maintenance engineering, aeronautical engineering, air traffic control, cabin crew roles, and more.
Furthermore, Makgato highlighted that prospective aviation enthusiasts should excel in Mathematics and Physical Sciences. She noted that SACAA’s initiative is part of a nationwide campaign, with a special focus on recruiting black learners.
Highlighting the industry’s current demographic landscape, Makgato acknowledged that aviation remains predominantly white-dominated. She stressed the need to change these perceptions and encourage more black individuals to join the sector, especially from disadvantaged communities.
Kwanele Solombela, a commercial pilot at SACAA, emphasized the importance of passion in pursuing a career as a pilot. He shared insights into the demanding nature of the job, involving long hours and extended time away from family. In addition to strong foundations in Mathematics and Physical Sciences, Solombela underscored the significance of a proficient command of the English language.
Solombela encouraged students to leverage technology for self-empowerment, advocating for informed career choices.
Onele Mxonywa, a Grade 10 learner from Oscar Mpetha High School in Nyanga, admitted that the event had transformed his understanding of the aviation industry. Initially believing it was solely about piloting, Mxonywa expressed newfound interest in various aviation roles, such as flight control and aircraft maintenance.
Mxonywa expressed gratitude to SACAA for organizing the event, recognizing its positive impact on many students’ aspirations.
Neliswa Nqiwa, a teacher at Nelson Mandela High School, commended the event organizers for their exceptional work. She stressed the importance of equipping students with relevant information to guide their career choices.
The SACAA and Beautiful Gate’s Aviation Youth Show is not only breaking down barriers but also opening up a world of possibilities for young learners, ensuring that the skies above are diverse and inclusive.