Aviation Business News

Supporting the next generation

Kelly Murphy
photo_camera Kelly Murphy, director of communications, Women in Aviation International (WAI)

For MRO Management magazine, Kelly Murphy, Women in Aviation International’s director of communications, looks at the five common benefits of diversity in the workplace that can improve an organisation’s performance.

At Women in Aviation International (WAI), we are dedicated to investing in our current and future workforce that represents women of all ages and backgrounds in a variety of aviation and aerospace career fields and interests. We focus on developing an inclusive and sustainable industry that inspires girls to learn about all the career options in our industry.

WAI has created hundreds of annual Girls in Aviation Day events around the world and established Aviation for Girls year-round youth programmes. These resources are tailored for girls, ages 8-18. Through a dedicated Aviation for Girls app, WAI reaches girls internationally wherever they live and learn. There are hundreds of hours of positive female role model videos, tours of aviation museums and airports, hands-on activities and aviation book recordings – all designed to spark that interest in the minds of young learners.

Supporting the next generation is a key pillar of the WAI mission. Another way we can achieve this goal is by reducing the financial barriers that exist in this industry. Since 1995, WAI has awarded more than $15.4 million in scholarships in aerospace engineering, aviation maintenance, aviation manufacturing skills, dispatch, flight training, helicopter ratings and general career enhancement. During our annual conference, these awards are presented to deserving WAI members – with nearly $890,000 in scholarships announced during WAI2023 in Long Beach, California.

As part of WAI’s robust scholarship programme, a variety of aircraft maintenance scholarships are offered every year to its members. These financial resources help to spur the next generation of female aircraft technicians to fill both current and long-term demands.

Diversity in the workplace is a must

Several notable studies underline how diversity in the workplace can improve an organisation’s performance. While measuring the impact of diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) programmes isn’t always straightforward, research indicates there are five common benefits.

Number one: diversity increases productivity. A more productive workforce translates to higher profits. And diverse teams tend to be more creative and better at problem-solving.

Number two: DE&I builds a positive organisational culture. Diversity is just one part of the equation. Equity and inclusion are important too. Together, they build a strong organisational culture.

Number three: organisations with policies and practices that support diversity increased innovation revenue by nearly 13 per cent. A collective creative power helps your organisation by sparking innovation.

Number four: employee retention rates increase if they feel accepted and relate to the organisation’s culture. If an organisation is inclusive, it is more likely that employees will enjoy working there and want to remain with the organisation for a long time. Also recruiting not just entry-level staff but also leaders from diverse backgrounds helps to shape an inclusive company culture.

Number five: diversity in an organisation helps to better serve your customers, clients and constituents. We are a diverse population, with women representing 50 per cent of the world’s population. Gaining that understanding better positions your organisation to create programmes and projects that can meet your community’s interests and needs.

WAI remains committed to creating an industry that is equitable and inclusive. Our WAI2024 scholarships are available online and are open to all WAI members. Check out all the numerous opportunities at www.wai.org/scholarships and chart a new course for your aviation career.

This article was first published in MRO Management magazine – July 2023. To read the magazine in full, click here.

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