Leading regional airline hosts local students to inspire the next generation and CEO takes all-female crewed flight for first visit to Belfast City base
Flybe, Europe’s largest regional airline has marked International Women’s Day with newly appointed Chief Executive Officer, Christine Ourmieres-Widener flying on an all-female crewed flight for her first visit to the carrier’s Belfast City base; and together with colleagues from across the business, hosting a group of Year 7 girls from the local Cranbrook Secondary School at its Exeter headquarters to highlight some of the many diverse career options available to them in aviation.
Coinciding with National Apprenticeship Week, the students first visited Flybe’s Training Academy where they met young aerospace students undergoing training to become Licensed Engineers in a joint programme offered in conjunction with Exeter College. They then watched Flybe’s newest cabin crew going through their rigorous Initials training, before heading off to meet one of Flybe’s 53 female pilots and touring the hangar to see fully qualified engineers in action.
Ms Ourmieres-Widener, Flybe’s first female CEO and one of only a few in the industry, explained how she started life in an airline maintenance department in France, inspiring the students with advice on how to succeed in what still remains a very much male-dominated industry.
She commented: “Flybe prides itself on the diversity of its workforce where there are women in every role from maintenance to the boardroom. Forty-one per cent of our workforce is now women and whilst the majority remains amongst our cabin crew, there are increasing numbers across all other areas of the business, including pilots and engineers.
“We have a number of bases across the UK and so we’re always particularly keen to develop home-grown talent and are continually on the lookout for women (and men!) with enthusiasm and drive to work across both our internal and customer facing roles, I’m sure we’ll be seeing the girls from Cranbrook High School again, only next time maybe they will be in one of our pilot or engineers’ uniforms.”
Louise Telford Deputy Head- Secondary Phase at The Cranbrook Education Campus added: “Our visit was both exciting and informative. Flybe provided an excellent opportunity for our female students to consider the wide range of career paths and post-16 routes available to them.”