New data from the Air League has revealed that its scholarship programme has successfully helped to inspire and equip young people from all backgrounds to break into the aviation, aerospace, and space sectors.
Over £180,000 has been awarded in 2022 to individuals across the UK. Feedback data shows that two in five scholars were from an ethnic or minority background, and 80% of scholars’ parents were not university educated. Additionally, nearly 40% of scholars in 2022 were female, which far exceeds the industry average.
Furthermore, the data highlights that the scholarships have been effective at helping young people pursue careers within the aviation, aerospace, and space sectors with 94% of respondents stating they intended to secure further education, an apprenticeship, or a traineeship as a result of the course, and 97% stating that they felt further prepared to pursue a career in these sectors.
The data has been released to coincide with the Air League’s Scholarship Awards Reception, that was held at the Royal Aeronautical Society in London. The event saw 2022 scholars receive their certificates from Sir Christopher Harper, President of the Air League, with additional awards presented by Air Vice-Marshal Simon Edwards, Assistant Chief of the Air Staff.
Milan Gandhi (22) from Harrow, was awarded this year’s Prince Philip Flying Scholarship Award. The Scholarship is awarded to a previous flying scholar to achieve their full private pilot’s licence to commemorate the Duke of Edinburgh’s seven decades of patronage of the Air League.
The event also saw Grace Cartwright (17), from Cornwall, receive the Evelyn Saunders Memorial Cup which is presented to the most outstanding female scholar.
Following the awards Ian Morrison CBE, Chief Executive of the Air League, said: “I’m thrilled to recognise the achievements of Milan, Grace, and all our 2022 scholars at this year’s scholarship awards reception. They are a shining example of what the Air League aims to deliver through its vision, mission, and purpose.
“I am also pleased to see this reflected in the data from the current cohorts of scholars. The aviation and aerospace industries are often deemed to be inaccessible, and I’m pleased to see that our scholarship programme is continuing to change this.”
The Air League aims to inspire, enable, and support the next generation of aviation and aerospace professionals from any background across the United Kingdom. Over the past decade, scholarships worth over £2 million have been allocated. In 2022, over 100 awards worth over £180,000 have been allocated to aspiring individuals throughout the entire UK. The Air League is deeply grateful to the sponsors of the scholarships and bursaries who generously provide continuing support for scholarships and programmes.
Milan Gandhi is 22 and from Harrow in North London. He was a member of 1454 (Harrow) Squadron ATC for 6 ½ years attaining the rank of Cadet Warrant Officer, holds a DofE Gold Award and was his unit’s DofE expedition assessor. He was the Deputy Lord-lieutenant’s Cadet of Harrow for three years and was awarded the Jack Petchey Award for Outstanding Achievements in 2019. He was awarded an Air League Gliding to Solo Scholarship in 2021 sponsored by Boeing UK and the Department for Transport and is currently studying towards a degree in Aerospace Engineering at the University of Nottingham where he has joined the East Midlands Universities Air Squadron as an officer cadet. Milan has undertaken all his training at Tayside Aviation in Dundee, Scotland.
Grace Cartwright is 17 and from St Austell in Cornwall. She is a Cadet Sergeant at 1225 (St Austell and District) Squadron, Plymouth and Cornwall Wing. Currently a student at Callywith College with aspirations to fly professionally, Grace was awarded the 2022 Ed Strongman Flying Scholarship – kindly sponsored by Airbus UK, in memory of Ed Strongman who’s flight-test career ran through five decades where he amassed more than 11,000 hours at the controls of multiple aircraft types for the Royal Air Force, Royal Aircraft Establishment, Civil Aviation Authority and culminating as chief military test pilot at Airbus. Grace also undertook her training at Tayside.
The Prince Philip Flying Scholarship was established in 2002 to mark 50 years of Patronage for the late Duke of Edinburgh. The Scholarship is now awarded to commemorate the Duke of Edinburgh’s seven decades as Patron of the Air League to a previous scholar who has displayed outstanding potential and allows the individual who was a member of the Air Training Corps and who also holds a Duke of Edinburgh Award to achieve their full private pilot’s licence.
The Evelyn Saunders memorial cup is presented each year to the most outstanding young female scholar. The cup was established in 2008, in memory of Evelyn 'Evie' Florence Saunders, a remarkable lady, who stretched the boundaries for female aviators of her generation. Piper PA-28 G-EVIE was donated to Tayside Aviation in Dundee, to run scholarships on behalf of the Air League Trust in her memory.