Johannesburg - NACO (Netherlands Airport Consultants), a company of Royal HaskoningDHV, in association with the Women in Aviation ERAU-Worldwide Chapter, hosted the 2023 Girls in Aviation Day (Giad) – an initiative connecting the youth to aviation professionals and careers in aviation.
The day was celebrated on September 23 in 150 countries including South Africa, Mozambique and Nigeria.
Hundreds of girls aged 8 to 18 participated in the event, which offered a range of activities and experiences.
“Naco is committed to fostering diversity and inclusion in the aviation industry. That is why the Giad programme is an annual highlight for us, as it aims to develop the next generation of talent to meet the evolving needs of the continent. With Girls in Aviation Day, we hope to inspire young minds, encourage STEM careers, nurture talent, and pave the way for a brighter future in aviation” said Renee Smith, Naco’s Girls in Aviation Day programme director.
“We were also so honoured to have the support of partners like Women in Aviation International (WAI), who’d provided kits for each student, and Embraer, who’d generously supplied T-shirts for both students and volunteers,” said Smith.
On the day, the participants were able to interact with inspirational female role models, they heard from industry professionals, and participated in vocational brainstorm sessions and a Paper Airplane Challenge. They also received certificates for completed training and had their 3D designs showcased.
The Girls in Aviation Fun Day was the last of three events that Naco facilitates annually. In collaboration with Fireblade Aviation, Naco hosted its launch event in South Africa – a Women's Day Event on August 5 at OR Tambo International Airport. Participating were 15 high school pupils, 15 students with engineering degrees, and 40 industry professionals. The event included a comprehensive tour of the facilities, speakers from Naco, Fireblade, and Airstudent Travel, and a networking session.
The next event was the Sustainable Aviation Training days, which took place on August 14 and 21 in South Africa, Nigeria, and Mozambique, with 60 Grade 4 pupils in Johannesburg, 70 pupils of varying ages in Abuja and Kaduna, and 20 Grade 10 pupils in Maputo participating in online and classroom sessions.
Its aim was to impart knowledge about innovation in aviation, covering topics such as aerodromes, battery and hydrogen-operated aircraft, alternative energy sources, and 3D printing. Pupils also had the opportunity to design their own eVTOLs (electric vertical take-off and landing aircraft) using free online 3D design software.
The programme ended with the Girls in Aviation Fun Day.
Since 2019, the Naco-led Girls in Aviation Day programme has reached 780 pupils, across South Africa, Mozambique, and Nigeria, introducing them to careers in aviation and STEM.