A large donation from rotary industry identities John and Julie Cameron will be used to establish a foundation to encourage young people to seek careers in helicopter engineering.
The $500,000 gift to set up the Helicopter Engineers Foundation was announced at RotorTech today by Ray Cronin, president of the Australian Helicopter Industry Association (AHIA).
“This important and exciting initiative is due to the outstanding generosity of John and Julie Cameron from John Cameron Aviation based at Bankstown,” Cronin said.
“Our industry is in desperate need of new helicopter engineers; John and Julie have recognised this need and have offered significant funds to initiate programs to attract young people to our industry through a national introductory program."
The Helicopter Engineers Foundation will introduce school-leavers to the helicopter engineering profession through a series of practical, hands-on activities conducted partly in participating helicopter industry workshops throughout the country.
Each participant will be given a kit including tools and a sheet metal panel, with the challenge of creating a project with help from existing engineers.
“I call on the industry to get behind this wonderful initiative which will be managed through the AHIA; if your workshop wishes to take part let us know," Cronin said. "If you can offer some financial support let us know.
"We need a new generation of young people now to join our vital engineering ranks.”
AHIA has been trying to address the issue of ageing engineers leaving the industry, causing a shortage of qualified engineers that has raised alarm bells in the industry. Retirees have not been replaced with skilled new entrants.
The Camerons have operated John Cameron Aviation at Bankstown Airport since 1975.