Liz Moscrop CEO GearUp Media and Charter Communications Committee Member talks to Nick Goss, Project Engineer at GKN Aerospace, about how he became involved in the Women in Aviation and Aerospace Charter – and translating words into actions.
Nick Goss became involved in the Women in Aerospace and Aviation Charter when he volunteered to read out a press release at its launch at Farnborough 2018. Since then, he’s been ensuring that the Charter is “more than just a piece of paper.” Goss, who has held a fascination for all things aviation and aerospace has always been involved in promoting STEM events.
“Nag people” – the key to change
He said his biggest task was to “nag people,” ensuring the aims of the Charter were translated into actions. He said “I spend my life, chasing people for dates and commitments and actions, just to get people to say what they’re going to do, when they’re going to do it by, and then actually making sure that it happens. So often with these things, everybody sees the press releases, the websites and all the kind of content that gets produced, so I guess my role has been behind the scenes in helping make sure that those things all happen when they should happen.”
Moscrop asked why a young man would become so involved in the work of created a Charter aimed at promoting the role of women. He said it was a question he was frequently asked: “I’ve always had a love of aviation and aerospace, I’ve always been passionate about engineering and about aviation in general, and I think I’ve always felt a kind of responsibility to debunk some of the myths surrounding engineering and around aerospace as a male dominated sector or career path.”
Goss has worked on promoting STEM skills within the workforce as was seconded to work in the Aerospace Growth Partnership which aims to inspire future generations. He said achieving a balanced and diverse workforce was vital to ensuring the UK could achieve its potential for a world leading aviation and aerospace sector.
“I think it’s really important to make sure that we inspire a broad cross section of people to come and join our organisations,” he said, “Because without that, I don’t think we will become the thriving industry that we need to be. It also helps to kind of challenge some of my perceptions. I’m often in a room where I fit. I fit the box as a white male in a blue shirt or a grey suit, but there’s still a lack of diversity in these rooms. The more I’m involved with the Charter, the more I realise how important that diversity of thought is.”
Goss said historically like recruits like but he had frequently asked himself the question: “Who are the people not like me that we might be missing here?”
Through his work with events, he knew STEM events were extremely popular with five to six year old girls – but he said further questions needed to be asked as in order to understand what was “putting off” older girls from picking aviation, aerospace and engineering as a career path.
Promote purpose and problem-solving to attract female talent
Goss said the insights he had gained included that women were interested in purpose and problems solving when choosing a career. He quoted a female Rolls-Royce engineer who said she was interested in a career which addressed the issue of climate change, not because she wanted to become an aerospace engineer.
He added that his own interest was to promote the right person for the right job and for businesses to benefit from diversity of thought within workplaces. He said this could be female or male and insights from different cultures. “It doesn’t matter who, so long as you get it,” he said.
Goss said although there were many emotional conversations around gender diversity, as an engineer, he said the data was vital to “back up” the business case for achieving gender balance and diversity. He said the case needed to be made that gender diversity wasn’t just “fundamentally the right thing to do” but something that would help businesses to perform better financially.
GKN has supported the publication of the latest report “Propelling a gender balanced industry” launched today by Korn Ferry. If you missed the event live, you can watch it on demand here.
Goss said GKN wanted to show their commitment to the Charter through supporting research and reporting.
In the country which invented the jet engine, Goss said a diverse workforce would play an important part in the dawn of the new era of aviation: “We have an opportunity here to be world leaders. We have a huge amount of history and we have a huge amount of potential to lead this industry going forward and I think, unless we inspire the next generation in the right way. And make sure that we’re getting that diversity of talent coming into the industry, we’re never going to fulfil the potential that we have.”
You can watch the livestreamed launch of “Propelling a gender balanced industry” by Korn Ferry and download the report at https://fia.eventscase.com/EN/wiaac-whats-your-passion.