Aspiring young female pilot Paidamwoyo Marizani from Kensworth in Bedfordshire is appealing to the general public to help her realise her dream career as a commercial pilot after having been accepted to one of the most prestigious pilot training schools in the UK but lacking the significant funds required to embark on the programme.
Paidamwoyo recalls, 'I nervously attended my pilot assessment with L3 airline academy on the 29th of August this year, and I received the life changing news that I had been accepted on to their Integrated Airline Transport Pilot training License training scheme. I remember immediately calling my mother on the phone in tears telling her the good news. Unfortunately, like many aspiring pilots, my excitement was short lived as the issue of finance began.' She continues, 'I hid this dream from my mother for many years because I knew we would never be able to afford the training. However, my mother has continuously pushed me to fight for this dream and believe that it is achievable.'
Unfortunately it is an all too familiar story within the world of aviation and commercial piloting, which has long been overwhelmingly dominated by white men from well-off backgrounds. Born in Zimbabwe and having immigrated to the UK in 2003, Paidamwoyo hopes that as a black female pilot she can inspire others and help change the face of flying; current statistics reveal that only 5.18% of the world’s pilots are female, and only a handful are black. She says: 'My goal is to inspire young women, especially from minority backgrounds, to pursue these amazingly nontraditional careers. Recently black female pilots have been celebrating historic events of flights being flown by two black female pilots. I hope that one day I will be a part of the amazing group of high flying women!'
The cost for pilot training with L3 Airline academy is £96,800. Once qualified Paidamwoyo will then need to raise a further £30,000 for her type rating, large amounts of money that she simply does not have access to. 'We currently have £5000 in savings, which is my mother’s house deposit savings. My mother and I are currently working relentlessly to try and save another £5000. She has even offered to work 6 to 7 days a week in order to fund my training, but even with this passion she would still be unable to fund the course,' she explains. 'It saddens me that this career is not determined on either academic or flying abilities but instead whether you are able to raise £100,000 or more.'
Paidamwoyo has tried a number of avenues to secure financial assistance, applying for loans and and sponsorship and even getting her local MP involved, but has repeatedly been knocked back. 'I contacted the national careers service and was told that I would not be eligible for the £10,000 career development loan for my course as it does not lead to guaranteed employment. I was told that unfortunately this is a career for the middle class and wealthy, the person did not intend this in a mean way but it seems to be the unfortunate truth. My MEP Alex Mayor wrote on my behalf to British Airways and Virgin Atlantic who both stated that they do not currently offer financial assistance to aspiring pilots. All the airlines have stated how they are aware of the cost of pilot training and how this is a major barrier for many aspiring pilots, however they all failed to provide any opportunity to support aspiring pilots from disadvantaged backgrounds.'
Determined still to fulfil her ambition and lifelong dream despite the setbacks, Paidamwoyo remains hopeful. 'It has been told to me on many occasions that my dream is simply too big. But it is my dream so I refuse to give up on it. I truly believe that I can be a role model for other young ambitious girls who wish to pursue non-traditional careers, as I believe it is so important to have role models to look up from your ethnic background. I would be truly grateful for any donation either small or large towards my dream.'
For more information or to make a donation to Paidamwoyo Marizani's fundraising campaign please visit: