The first three young people to take part in The Prince’s Trust flying scholarship have completed their training with L3Harris Technologies.
The flying scholarship initiative, created by L3Harris and The Prince’s Trust as part of the RAF 100 Legacy, aims to increase diversity within the aviation industry and help more people to achieve their dream of becoming a pilot.
The first students, all from Northern Ireland, undertook streamlined training over the course of three weekends in September and October at L3Harris’ Airline Academy in Bournemouth.
Shanyn Smyth, a scholarship pupil, said: “I always wanted to be a pilot, so I jumped on this opportunity. I gained lot of confidence. Before we came here I was learning to drive. And now that I’ve flown a plane, I feel it will be much easier. Confidence has definitely been a big thing.”
Speaking about the programme, pupil Frank Bozo said: “The training from the first day was really exciting, and our first experience on an aircraft was truly amazing. The thrill of flying really lived up to my imagination.
“The training has given us self-confidence and skills that we can now take into our future careers. The instructors were very thorough and patient. Beforehand, I had a fear of flying. But now, I genuinely cannot wait to get back in the air,” added Morgan Pettigrew, another cadet on the programme. “I definitely would like to continue pursuing the career of being a pilot. I loved the feeling of being in the air.”
As well as completing the training programme, Frank and Morgan also had the opportunity to meet His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales at the opening of L3Harris’ new state-of-the-art London Training Centre.
“We are delighted that these students have enjoyed their first flight training experience and wish them the best of luck for the next steps of their careers,” commented Jo Hjalmas, Director of UK Airline Academy, L3Harris Commercial Training Solutions. “We are proud to support the future generation of pilots, promoting opportunities to consider flying as an accessible and exciting career path.”
Mark Dougan, NI Director, The Prince’s Trust said, “The idea for this scholarship came from conversations The Lord Lieutenant of Belfast Fionnuala Jay-O’Boyle CBE had with L3Harris UK executives and the RAF about ways to make aviation more accessible to young people.
We are delighted that Morgan, Frank and Shanyn have enjoyed this once in a lifetime experience, which has helped to develop their skills and confidence. Everyone at The Prince’s Trust wishes them all the very best with their future careers.”
Youth charity The Prince’s Trust helps young people to develop the confidence and skills they need to realize their ambitions. Founded by The Prince of Wales in 1976, the charity supports 11 to 30 year-olds who are unemployed, struggling at school and at risk of exclusion.
Many of the young people helped by The Trust are in or leaving care, facing issues such as homelessness, mental health problems, or have been in trouble with the law. The programmes offered by the charity give vulnerable young people the practical and financial support needed to stabilize their lives, helping develop self-esteem and skills for work.
Three in four young people supported by The Prince’s Trust move into work, education or training.
The Trust has helped over 900,000 young people to date and supports over 100 more each day. Further information about The Prince’s Trust is available at princes-trust.org.uk