KRISTEN Gabrielli is pursuing her dream to become a commercial pilot after becoming the first woman to graduate from Padstow TAFE’s first intake of aviation students.
Despite being told she would “never make it” in the male-dominated industry because she was female, Ms Gabrielle turned to TAFE because it was the only way she could afford the expensive business of gaining a commercial pilot’s licence.
She now has her recreational licence and private licence and hopes to complete her commercial licence next year.
“The sky is the limit,” said the 19-year-old from Concord.
But she warned of gender bias in a global industry where just three per cent of airline pilots are women.
She encountered it herself when she left Sydney to take instruction elsewhere.
“I was basically told, ‘You are a female and you won’t make it’,” she said.
“I was abused in the cockpit. It was very confronting. I would get out of the plane in tears.”
Then came news that Padstow TAFE was starting aviation courses, and it revived her ambition.
“It was massive. There is no other way I could afford a commercial licence. It was a no-brainer,” she said.
Source: Daily Telegraph