The aerospace industry must do all it can to attract people with diverse skill sets to ensure future growth of the sector, said Kerissa Khan, president-elect of the Royal Aeronautical Society.
Speaking at the Farnborough International Airshow 2022, she said the sector was “very exciting” and that while “aviation has its challenges”, young people should “follow their passion”.
“If you’re passionate about something, if you’re passionate about supersonic flights and just pushing the boundaries of flight and pioneering flights, whatever you’re passionate about, follow that,” she said.
“The aviation industry and the landscape of skills that’s going to be required to take this industry into the future is changing.
“It’s widening and so it calls for the needs of many different skills, diverse skill sets. And so we need to ensure that the skill sets that we’re attracting into the industry are diverse.”
The future workforce may be inspired by any number of impressive achievements of recent years.
For Khan, it was seeing Concorde. “This was pushing the boundaries of flight. When I was a child, I looked up in the sky, standing on the beach in the Caribbean, I could hear the sonic boom and I wanted to be part of this world and wanted to be a part of pioneering flight and being at the forefront of innovation.”
Looking to the future, she said innovation would be driven by the need to become more sustainable.
“In 10 years time, the aviation industry should be providing sustainable and accessible flights, both short range and long range, making use of all of the advanced and disruptive technologies we’re seeing today in AI, autonomy, digitalisation and sustainable aviation fuels, as well as electrification,” she said.