Marlborough Girls College students Isabella Adams and Heather Peter have spent the first week of school holidays getting a taste of all things aviation at School to Skies, a week-long intensive camp for Year 13 girls at Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) Base Auckland.
School to Skies is a technical and aviation focussed experience for 38 young women. It provides a unique introduction and exposure to, hands-on learning where participants get to fix real aircraft, fly a simulator, plan a flying mission and build electronic components.
For Isabella, School to Skies provided the opportunity to experience what life is like in the Air Force and learn about what careers were available.
“I love planes and working with machinery to see how things fit together. Over the week we were given lots of opportunities to practice carrying out aviation maintenance on the workshop airframes
, that was really fun,” said Isabella.
“Another highlight was sharing this experience with 37 like-minded girls who are all interested in aviation or a career in the Defence Force. School to Skies helped me see the wide range of options available to me if I did decide to join the Air Force when I finish school.”
Most of the girls who attend School to Skies have an interest in engineering and science or are considering a career in the Defence Force. The camp brings together both of these elements and exposes the participants to the breadth of different careers and opportunities available to them in the RNZAF.
Heather has always had an interest in following in her great-grandfather’s footsteps and joining the Air Force. She found the School to Skies camp a great chance to conquer new challenges.
“I applied to School to Skies because I wanted to be confident I was picking the right career path and I also wanted to experience something different and make new friends. The camp definitely pushed me out of my comfort zone but it was an amazing experience and one I would recommend to other girls who are thinking about joining the Air Force,” said Heather.
This is the fourth year the RNZAF has run its School to Skies programme. The programme is open to all female Year 13 students who are taking a Level 3 NCEA (or equivalent) maths and science subject. Of the past participants several have already joined the service to pursue a range of careers including pilot, aircraft technician and air warfare officer.