Aviation outreach programme

Pupils from Luhlaza High School and Joe Slovo High in Khayelitsha attended the aviation outreach programme.

The aviation industry is essential to foster growth and development in Africa.

This was the message by Jon Howell, managing director, of AviaDev – Bench Events and the co-founder of Aviators Africa Academy, during an outreach in Khayelitsha on Wednesday April 24.

To help young aspiring aviators, the academy decided to embark on education initiatives, engage with maths and science pupils and make stops at academic institutions.

One such visit was made to Luhlaza High School in Khayelitsha, where the academy delivered information about how pupils can work in aviation, how to become pilots or engineers and where they are likely to work thereafter.

Luhlaza High pupils were joined by Joe Slovo Engineering High School pupils.

Pupils were addressed by speakers who are in various aviation fields and speaker after speaker urged pupils to take their education seriously and improve their maths marks.

Pupils were told to realise that there are a number of initiatives to attract youngsters to the local aviation industry.

Mr Howell said it was important for his organisation to leave an impact by giving back. “This is just to show pupils that aviation has a variety of careers.

“We are here to inspire them to work hard and realise that this world needs a working person.

“What makes me happy was that speakers were people who have the same background, who were disadvantaged but succeeded in life. The day was encouraging to me,” he said.

Pilot Kay Sebetlela urged pupils to have drive and determination if they want to succeed in life. She asked them to turn their challenges into victories.

“Put everything you have aside as soon as you enter the school gate. Do not feel sorry for yourself. African child, it is about time you make a change. Seize the opportunity,” she told pupils.

Meanwhile, Dr Fanelwa Ngece-Ajayi who is the founder of AmaQhawe ngeMfundo, an organisation that equips township pupils with science, technology, engineering and mathematics skills through on-site training, was ecstatic to have the outreach programme.

Her organisation was responsible for co-ordinating the day and for hosting the two organisations.

“We are always happy when people come to encourage and show the way for our pupils.

“These young people need to see that people are progressing and what we have been telling them is true.

“This is a great experience for them. I always tell them that I grew up in the township like them.

“I have faced what they have faced and probably many times more than them,” she said.

Dr Ngece-Ajayi grew up in Site C, Khayelitsha, and holds a PhD in chemistry and is a researcher and lecturer at the University of the Western Cape.

She is passionate about education and ensuring that pupils become scientists despite their backgrounds.

Anela Cengani, a Grade 10 pupil at Luhlaza High, said she was inspired by the day and the speakers.

“They have taught me that my background does not matter much as long as I push to succeed. I am inspired and I believe many of my friends are too,” she told Vukani.