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My name is Jade Elms, a 22 year old female from Eldorado Park. I am a Qualified Aircraft Maintenance Technician (Working on Helicopters). I am working toward acquiring my AME license one day.

My journey started in 2013 when I met a pilot named Fundi who introduced me to the GFPA ladies. I attended the GFPA Foundation/ SAWIA aviation and space camp in 2013. The programme really had a positive impact by opening my eyes to a broader world of aviation as I initially wanted to be a pilot and didn't know that they were more behind the scene workers such as cabin crew, ground staff and engineers. Thereafter in about 2016, I met a friend who introduced me to Maya (Mega Aero Training Academy) of which I was offered a 3 year bursary to study aircraft mechanics, thus me being a qualified Technician now. These are small stepping stones that helped me get to where I am which I will forever be grateful for.

Being one of the few female aircraft engineers is quite tricky, with having to adapt to a more male dominant environment, however it's a learning curve everyday as I learn new things and tackle new opportunities daily. I feel like my qualification opened more doors for me as I am now behind the scenes of ensuring the airworthiness and safety of helicopters around the respective areas our company accommodates.

If I could advise young ladies on coming into the aviation world, I will firstly start off by saying something that a few of my engineers taught me - never choose aviation to just be a day to day job, aviation should be a passion. And also you should be able to have the confidence in yourself knowing that when you go to bed at night you are satisfied with the work put in, because you are working with peoples lives.

I've also  learnt and would love to share is that "Aviation is big, but also small", for those ladies wanting to be pilots, cabin crew or anything aviation related, GO FOR IT. The sky really is not the limit, however, aviation is an uncomfortable yet fun environment, you can never be too complacent because there will be days when you feel like sitting in a  bathroom and crying because of the pressure and then there will be days where you will feel on top of the world. At the end of the day the aim will be to never give up, and continue pushing no matter how hard it seems. 


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