A mentoring platform designed to offer support to professional women working in the aerospace and aviation industry is changing the way females are perceived in male-dominated industries and aims to put an end to gender inequality.

Alta was launched on International Women’s Day, 2019 as a partnership between the University of the West of England (UWE Bristol), the Royal Aeronautical Society (RAeS), Airbus, Little Blue Private Jets Limited and the Royal Air Force, and funded jointly by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and the founding partners.

It is the only scheme of its kind in the industry offering free mentoring to women, by more experienced women.
Judith Milne, co-founder of Alta and managing director of Little Blue Private Jets Ltd, is a keen advocate of the positive power of networking: “Alta is a wonderful diverse network of people from across the industry all focused on a common theme. Success breeds success and women helping women can only lead to positive outcomes for the women involved and the industry as a whole.”

Raising your profile

As well as enabling women to receive career guidance, the platform also helps mentors raise their own profiles.
The platform is hosted by the Royal Aeronautical Society and is part of the Society’s commitment to delivering on the pledges it made as a supporter of the Women in Aviation and Aerospace Charter, which was signed by government and industry at the Farnborough Airshow.

In addition to the platform, networking and mentoring events are held throughout the year to help mentors and mentees meet face to face or online, as well as provide insights into career development and management.

The support offered can also help women feel valued, assist them in getting into leadership positions and increase female retention in the industry, thus tackling the problem of the ‘leaky pipeline’ of women who leave the industry. It may also assist women to gain more confidence, receive assistance when they are returning to work after a maternity break and help to eradicate ‘impostor syndrome,’ whereby women feel they don’t belong in such a male-dominated environment.

Skills shortage

“The UK aviation and aerospace industry has a skills shortage that could be partly addressed through the recruitment of more women and the retention of those already in the industry, said co-founder of Alta and professor of human resource management at UWE, Susan Durbin. “Through alta’s woman to woman, non-judgemental advice and support, women can be empowered to be themselves and progress their careers.”

If you are a professional woman in the industry and would like to join Alta, you can sign up to the mentoring platform for free here: https://alta.onpld.com/. If you are an organisation and would like to get involved in Alta and support us going forward, contact [email protected]
Subscribe to the FINN weekly newsletter