The pledging ceremony was held at the Kowloon Park Sports Stadium with the Secretary for Labour and Welfare Matthew Cheung and Cathay Pacific Chief Operating Officer Rupert Hogg as the officiating guests. Other guests included the airline’s Director Corporate Affairs Chitty Cheung, Vice-Chairperson of Bless Hong Kong Leonie Ki and Deputy Director-General of the Civil Aviation, Civil Aviation Department Colman Ng.
Launched in 2003, "I Can Fly" aims to give young people the opportunity to enhance their aviation knowledge, encouraging them to fly high to achieve their dreams. At the same time the programme also gives participants a greater sense of socially responsibility, providing them with an opportunity to serve the community.
In addition to learning about various aspects of aviation including flight operations, inflight services and engineering, “I Can Fly” members will also have the opportunity to visit Hong Kong International Airport, the Civil Aviation Department and other aviation facilities. They will then use their creativity and new-found aviation knowledge to devise and implement a social service project to help others in the community.
In support of the “Bless Hong Kong” campaign launched by the Commission on Poverty, Cathay Pacific has specially recruited 500 less-advantaged students from more than 130 secondary schools and NGOs in Hong Kong who were nominated by their headmasters, teachers or social workers. Many of them have achieved excellent academic results and participated actively in social services.
Speaking at the pledging ceremony, Mr Hogg said: “As Hong Kong’s home carrier, Cathay Pacific has a deep commitment to the local community and in particular to helping young people reach for their dreams. We have been pleased to see many graduates from previous ‘I Can Fly’ programmes join the aviation industry after getting to know more about themselves and their responsibilities within society.
“This year we have specifically targeted students from under-privileged backgrounds as part of our support for the Bless Hong Kong campaign. I would like to express my heartfelt thanks to the school heads, teachers and social workers for recommending such an excellent batch of members who include student leaders, students with outstanding academic results and those who have shown real determination in their struggle against adversity. I am sure you will all benefit from this valuable learning opportunity and get a clearer understanding of your goals in life.”
After getting invaluable insights into aviation and taking part in social service programmes, 100 outstanding performers will be invited to explore new learning opportunities at overseas facilities such as Flight Training Adelaide in Australia or the Airbus factory in Toulouse, France.
The success of “I Can Fly” relies on the support of various organisations, members of the CX Staff Volunteers and Alumni Coordinators. For this year’s programme, more than 70 CX Volunteers and Alumni Coordinators will be providing help and guidance for 500 “I Can Fly” members.
CX Volunteers Staff Leader Kinna But said: “I am glad to see that the students are being very proactive in their learning. They are always asking questions and communicating with each other, which motive and inspire me both personally and professionally. Spending time with these enthusiastic young people makes me feel younger, too!”
The main objective of the programme is to encourage young people to fly high and reach for their dreams. Alumni Coordinator Jeffrey Lam, who graduated from “I Can Fly” in 2008 said: “Through ‘I Can Fly’ I was able to enjoy an overseas trip and experience a real test flight. The programme helped to broaden my horizons and made me realise how passionate about aviation I was. It made me more determined than ever to become a professional pilot.”
One of the highlights in the programme is to devise a social service project and contribute to the community. Current “I Can Fly” member Miki Cheung hopes to fly high in this regard. “I think this programme is very meaningful because it enables our age group to take part in voluntary work and help people in need. It prepares us to give back to society in the future and provides us with a better understanding of our role in the community.”
Learn more about “I Can Fly” at http://icanfly.cathaypacific.com.