Young female pilot aims to help open up career opportunities for all

Carrie Clark, at age 28, explains how she has spent more than a decade pursuing her dream of becoming an airline pilot and how she aims to make the aviation industry more accessible to people from all backgrounds.

Trainee pilot Carrie Clark is trying to make the aviation industry more accessible to young people.
I’ve been obsessed with becoming an airline pilot since I was a little girl. At age 17 I got my Private Pilot License (PPL) and I will fly anything given the chance!In January 2019, I finally took the next step to become an airline pilot by starting flight school. This step has taken 11 years. I have had a fantastic team of people helping to fund my journey and to break into a male-dominated industry. I want to show that young people – regardless of their gender or where they come from – can achieve their dreams of flying.
Carrie Clark

The next generation of pilots

Globally, there are not enough young people considering aviation as a career. With a pilot shortage looming, now is the time to encourage a more diverse group of young people to become the next generation of pilots. The challenge is that aviation is an expensive and incredibly hard industry to get in to. Less than 3 per cent of pilots worldwide are women, so it is even more important to show young women that aviation is a viable career path for them.Transforming the industry is something I feel very passionate about. Once I have my airline license, I plan to use my success story to help inspire more young people and girls, in particular, to consider flying as a career. I have an agreement with a book publisher to release a motivational book and I want to visit UK primary and secondary schools to hold talks on aviation careers as well as organising a support/networking group for professional female pilots.

Young flyer

So where did this love of flying come from? For as long as I can remember I have always wanted to become an airline pilot, but I grew up with teachers telling me that it would be impossible because I was a girl and from the wrong economic background. I was told it was expensive and that flying was for boys.All of this made me more determined to achieve my dream and at 16 I started training for my PPL. I passed just two weeks after my 17th birthday. As I was so young, ITV News and BBC Radio picked up the story.
Read more on women fighting for equality, diversity and inclusion:
Carrie Clark

Breaking through the glass ceiling

Because of the costs of training to qualify as an airline pilot (training can cost more than £100,000), my next step has been a while coming. I’m now 28; I have completed all 14 written exams and my Multi-Engine Rating, and will soon complete my Instrument Rating. I have completed around 70 per cent of my training. Together with living expenses for the period of training, my total cost will be about £85,000.With the help of my amazing family and friends – #TeamCarrie – I have raised £70,000. To achieve this I have: sold my car; held car boot sales; held fundraising events; have secured £5,000 of interest-free loans from three very kind individuals; and now my parents have taken a loan of £50,000. To make my dream a reality I still need a further £15,000 and so my fabulous team of friends and family are helping me in seeking support. I have come this far and I want to prove that it is possible if you keep working hard.For more information on Carrie’s journey, follow her on Instagram @pilotcarrie

Think Women International Womens Day
You can hear Carrie's inspirational story at Relocate’s Think Women lunch on Friday 6 March, where we will discuss how inclusion, leadership development and education can promote more opportunities globally for women and girls. Come and share your ideas on how to support girls and young women embarking on international careers and shaping the future. Book today and help make a difference.


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