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Source: New Zealand Defence Force

30 January 2020

More than 70 female secondary school students across the country will have the chance in April to experience a taste of life in the air or on the sea with the Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) and Royal New Zealand Navy (RNZN).

It is the fourth year the RNZAF has run its School to Skies programme, a technical and aviation-focussed experience for young women. This year another 40 women from around New Zealand will participate in the programme at RNZAF Base Auckland.

Across Auckland at the Devonport Naval Base, the RNZN will host its inaugural School to Seas programme, providing 32 young women with a unique maritime experience.

School to Skies and School to Seas aim to provide exposure to, and a more detailed understanding of, technical aviation and maritime trades through hands-on learning.

Depending on the programme, participants will get to fix aircraft, fly a simulator, plan a mission, build electronic components, experience life aboard a ship, gain navigation skills and learn more about engineering fundamentals.

Squadron Leader George Magdalinos, School to Skies programme leader, said in addition to tactile skills, the young women would take part in a variety of workshops and leadership exercises that would teach them more about themselves and foster teamwork.

“Participants will also have the unique opportunity to speak face-to-face with servicemen and women who are employed in technical roles and have all of their questions answered,” she said.

“Giving these young women role models for them to look up to and aspire to become has proven to be an essential component.”

It is hoped that these two programmes will encourage more females into technical trades in the RNZAF and the RNZN, such as engineers, systems and communications technicians, marine and electronics technicians, and navigation warfare trades.

“Encouraging more women into science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) careers is important as we strive for a diversified workforce,” Squadron Leader Magdalinos said.

“Programmes like School to Skies and School to Seas provide young women with a hands-on, real-life opportunity to experience the wide variety of options available in STEM pathways, which also extends positively beyond the New Zealand Defence Force.”

The programme is open to all young women in New Zealand in school year 13 who are taking a Level 3 NCEA (or equivalent) maths and science subject.

School to Seas runs 13-19 April and School to Skies runs 18-25 April 2020.

Both programmes are free. The only cost to be met by participants is travel to and from Auckland.

Applications close 2 March, 2020. More information is at: