Joining the graduates at the celebration as officiating guests were Civil Aviation Department Deputy Director-General of Civil Aviation, Victor Liu and Cathay Pacific Director Corporate Affairs, James Tong, along with representatives from supporting organisations, Cathay Pacific volunteers, participants’ nominators and parents.
As Cathay Pacific’s flagship education programme, I Can Fly, endeavours to provide an effective platform through which young people can enhance their understanding of the aviation industry through training courses and site visits, while fostering social awareness.
Speaking at the ceremony, Cathay Pacific Director Corporate Affairs, James Tong reminisced: “Since its launch in 2003, I Can Fly has benefited over 4,000 Hong Kong youth, making aviation more accessible and inspiring many to join the industry.” Paying tribute to the enthusiasm, commitment and outstanding performance of this year’s participants, he went on to offer words of encouragement to the graduates: “The journey towards achieving your dreams is never easy, and in life difficulties may arise. My hope is that the experience of I Can Fly will energise you to pursue your dreams, and prepare you to fly high!”
This summer, 100 outstanding students will be offered the precious opportunity to “fly high” by participating in a special overseas aviation adventure, organised by Cathay Pacific. One group will visit the Rolls-Royce Seletar Campus in Singapore, the world’s only site to assemble and test Trent aero engines under one roof. They will explore the exciting aircraft engineering world, looking behind the scenes at the engine manufacturing process. Another group will visit the Adelaide Flight Training Centre in Australia, where they can experience the life of a cadet pilot and enjoy a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to fly a small aircraft.
Participant Mo Mei Ting, who will join the trip to Singapore, is thankful for the structure of the programme and for the solid aviation knowledge she gained. She said: “The social service project was more than nurturing creativity, teamwork, leadership and serving others, it required us to master and transform many complex theories and instructional information into simple terms for children. This process allowed us to think through and digest what we learned and it helped strengthen our aviation knowledge.”
Staff leader Kinna But, who has volunteered every year of the programme, witnessed a lot of great accomplishments among the graduates: “I Can Fly has changed many teenagers, taking them on a journey of discovery in terms of personal qualities, social awareness and possible career paths. Many were inspired by the aviation trainings, site visits and intensive knowledge gained, and most of all, the professionalism of the industry and its people. I have been delighted to play a part in helping them grow, because the greatest reward for me is to witness their success in their careers, whether as pilots, cabin crew, engineers or in other aviation roles. It is personally gratifying to see many participants that I have nurtured join the industry and become my colleagues.”
Cabin crew Phillip Chan, who participated in I Can Fly 2005 and was guided by Kinna, is one of these success stories. He shared how the programme inspired him to launch a career in aviation: “Through our staff leaders and the training courses, I came to understand that aviation is full of challenges and demands high standards of professionalism, and a dynamic and responsive workforce. Understanding that the safety of passengers lies in their hands, and that they constantly face all sorts of unforeseen circumstances, ranging from flight delays and adverse weather, to sick or unruly passengers, gave me a high degree of respect for the industry and the people, inspiring me to be a part of it. This programme changed my perception of the industry, laying a good foundation for my career. After I joined Cathay Pacific, I enrolled to become a staff leader in the hopes that I can act like my mentor, inspiring other teenagers, and imparting my knowledge to them.”
Learn more about “I Can Fly” at http://icanfly.cathaypacific.com.