Air League awards 100+ aviation scholarships in 2023

Air League Emily Chase
Emily Chase has been awarded a gliding scholarship by The Air League

More than 100 individuals across the UK will benefit from the Air League’s just-announced 2023 Scholarships Programme.

This week sees the beginning of this year’s scholarship courses taking place at flying and gliding clubs across England, Wales and Scotland, with engineering placements at Marshall Aerospace and Affinity Flying Training Services and Drone Scholarships at Eagle Eye Innovations to follow.

This year, the Air League awarded a total of 107 Scholarships, made up of:

  • 27 Gliding Scholarships
  • 66 Flying Scholarships
  • 6 Engineering Scholarships
  • 8 Drone Scholarships.

Data from this year’s awards highlights that 31% are female, far higher than the industry average of 6.5% for pilots. 49% are under 18, and 47% are aged 18-35. Furthermore, one in three are from an ethnic or minority background and 50% of scholars’ parents were not university educated.

Air League scholarship

Ben Harris, Scholarships Programme Manager at the Air League, said: “The 2023 Scholarship Programme has proven that the desire to pursue a career in aviation is as strong as ever.

“Close to 700 applications were received for our Flying and Gliding Scholarships. The job of picking our lucky recipients was made very difficult due to the outstanding quality of the applicants.

“Our scholarships aim to assist in breaking down the barriers of entry to the aviation industry. We are hopeful that the 2023 Scholars will use their scholarships to propel themselves towards long and prosperous careers in aviation.

“We wish all recipients of the 2023 Air League Scholarships the very best of luck with their training.”

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.

Elizabeth McAllister

Elizabeth McAllister receiving an engineering scholarship from Sir Christopher Harper, President of the Air League

Elizabeth McAllister, a Marshall Aerospace engineering scholar, said, “Growing up on RAF bases has meant that I’ve always been surrounded by aircraft and had an interest in aviation from a very young age.

“However, I wasn’t properly bitten by the aviation bug until I tried out flying for myself during a gliding scholarship which I was awarded by the Air League last summer.

“As much as I loved flying, I know that engineering is the career for me, and my flying experience has motivated me to look down an aerospace engineering path more specifically.

“Since last summer I’ve been bringing my interest in engineering and aviation together, such as by constructing a powered glider with my friends and teaching myself more about the principles of flight and aircraft design.

“I’m looking forward to learning even more about aerospace engineering during my placement at Marshall Aerospace. The experience will also motivate me throughout my engineering degree as I’ll have seen the real-world applications of all that I’ll be studying at university.”

Scott Toland Air League

Another scholarship winner is 25-year-old Scott Toland with 12 hours of powered flying training with ACS Aviation

Emily Chase, a gliding scholar, added, “Ever since I was a small child, I have loved aviation. My parents used to take me to air shows when I was little, and they say that I have always been fascinated by things that fly. Planes, helicopters, gliders, anything really.

“As I got older, I started looking into potential career paths as an aviator and decided that I would like to fly as a commercial pilot.

“Last year I fully committed to achieving that goal – I would study theory for hours on end. When school rolled back around in September, I began looking into PPL training schools. It was a big decision to make; but after a few months of research, I finally decided on a school.

“Not too long after, I began gliding, and recently, I received a gliding scholarship from the Air League. Knowing that I had that scholarship really helped my family and I. One of the barriers we have faced is money.”

The Air League


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