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Young Students Take Off For Drone Piloting Success

Young Students Take Off For Drone Piloting Success

Our Drone Certification program at Melbourne Girls Grammar is a feature article in “Wingspan’, the quarterly magazine of the Model Aeronautical Association of Australia.


Acquiring their Remote Pilot’s Licence has resulted in aero-modelling empowerment for students of Melbourne Girls Grammar. 

Six enthusiastic Year 9-12 students and a teacher successfully acquired their Remote Pilot’s Licence in an accomplishment that Melbourne Girls Grammar School, along with the Institute for Drone Technology and the Centre for Educational Enterprise, were understandably proud to congratulate.

“…The skill to operate a drone will be a great advantage to these girls as they move forward with their studies, their lives and their careers. We look forward to working with Melbourne Girls Grammar to grow this program…”
Dr. Joel Spencer, CEO and Co-Founder of The Institute for Drone Technology

As a part of the School’s Student Enterprise program, that aims to empower students to enter a changing workforce, students had the opportunity to obtain this licence, which certifies holders to fly a remotely piloted aircraft or an UAV for commercial work purposes. Achieving the licence was a significant triumph, as the students and teacher extensively studied elements of aviation theory and its  regulations, learnt to professionally pilot drones, while demonstrating mastery of the concepts by passing a challenging theoretical and practical flying exam. The girls’ graduation will no doubt positively contribute to the growing number of commercial female drone pilots in Australia.

Significantly, one Year 9 student, 14-year-old Sophie Paterson, became the youngest female remote pilot in Australia. Year 11 student, Olivia Perkins, says the course was a revelation and believes that taking part in the program inspired her to challenge preconceived notions that aviation is exclusively a male-dominated sport. “The percentage of female pilots at Australia’s major airlines ranges from about four to nine per cent,” she said. “Women make up as little as a quarter of the total STEM workforce. Soon, I aim to get my first commercial job involving drones, which could possibly extend into a full-time career.” The students were joined by science teacher Garth Kates, who signed up to expand his knowledge of this rapidly expanding industry in the hope that he would be able to pass on the knowledge to other students to assist their futures in STEM. “Melbourne Girls Grammar has shown great leadership in fostering a deep interest in STEM among the girls, with a practical and real-world outcome of the girls successfully completing the Remote Pilot Licence course,” said Dr. Joel Spencer, CEO and Co-Founder of The Institute for Drone Technology. “The skill to operate a drone will be a great advantage to these girls as they move forward with their studies, their lives and their careers. We look forward to working with Melbourne Girls Grammar to grow this program so even more girls can have the great experience, and opportunity these girls have received through completing the course.”

“This is a great accomplishment for our girls and is representative of our efforts to champion STEM opportunities that prepare students for the future of work,” said Ivan Carlisle, Director of STEM a Melbourne Girls Grammar. “It is important that our programs go beyond simply ensuring university readiness, by engaging students with micro-credential opportunities, like the Remote Pilot Licence, that connect them with the future of work here and now. We look forward to continuing to partner with The Institute for Drone Technology in the provision of such credentials and industry work placement opportunities.”

Read the magazine