Leidos aviation scholarship takes off with RMIT Aviation Academy

Leidos Australia and RMIT University have launched a new aviation scholarship that will support budding pilots to complete their studies and commence their flying career.

Through RMIT’s Aviation Academy, Leidos is providing $120,000 worth of scholarship funding which will be available to final year students completing a degree in Aviation at RMIT. This is the first aviation scholarship for the international university of technology, design and enterprise, which celebrates the first anniversary of the establishment of its Aviation Academy next month.

Leidos Airborne Solutions Vice President James Woodhams said Leidos was committed to supporting future workforce development in a sector facing a significant skills shortage.

“We know that there are high barriers to entry to becoming a pilot, including the cost associated with flight training. We want to provide students with not only financial support, but with opportunities to learn about the flying experiences available to them beyond airline careers.”

“We do very specialist flying to save lives and protect national interests, and we want to contribute to building the skills required for these missions.”

From their Essendon Fields Airport base, Leidos operates specially modified aircraft to deliver critical services across Australia on behalf of the Australian Federal Government.

Leidos has two Challenger search-and-rescue jets positioned at Essendon to provide fixed wing search-and-rescue response capability over land and sea on behalf of the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA).

RMIT Aviation Academy Director Lea Vesic said the Academy was thrilled to be partnering with Leidos, to help new pilots launch their aviation careers.

“The Aviation Green Paper released last year highlighted the challenges the Australian aviation industry is facing with skills shortages in the sector, and the critical demand for skilled pilots over the next 20 years,” said Ms Vesic.

“As a national leader in aviation education and with the largest university owned aviation fleet in the country, the RMIT Aviation Academy is well placed to respond to these challenges and will play a critical role in training the next generation of aviators.”

Essendon Fields’ CEO Brendan Pihan and GM Aviation, Matt Marais, were thrilled to see Leidos Australia supporting RMIT University.

“Organizations like Leidos Australia are a vital part of the aviation ecosystem at Essendon Fields Airport, and the industry more broadly. Attracting, educating and retaining talent is essential to the viability of this industry, which highlights the importance of this relationship. Congratulations to RMIT University and Leidos Australia on this announcement, ” said Mr Pihan.

“Traditionally when people think of a career as a pilot the major airlines come to mind, when in reality there are many possible pathways from piloting an emergency service aircraft right through to business jet aviation. These students are destined to become our next generation of aviation professionals and it’s fantastic to see Leidos Australia and RMIT University highlighting these careers right from fruition,” said Mr Marais.

“Partnerships like this are critical not only for supporting new pilots to enter the workforce but to make sure they develop the skills and can obtain the practical experience required to ensure they are job ready. The scholarship funding from Leidos includes support for recipients to complete additional training, focusing on the specialised pilot skills Leidos requires for its unique and diverse operations, meaning students conclude their training ready for a career in special mission flying,” Ms Vesic concluded.

The aviation scholarship builds on Leidos and RMIT’s existing relationship and sets up a runway for further opportunities for collaboration.