Pupils flying high at RAF event

By Rory Smith | Attractions | Published:

Schoolgirls from across the West Midlands turned out for an empowering event at RAF Cosford Museum.

Kayanet Ifran, Patricia Porter, Zoe Mason, Morgan Harris and Caroline Paige, who were the speakers at the 'Beyond Image' event at RAF Museum, Cosford, which focused on inspirational stories of women who have enjoyed successful careers in typically male-dominated industries

A number of female speakers attended the Beyond Image event, which this year aimed at encouraging young women and girls to achieve their aspirations, particularly in male dominated professions.

Pupils from The Marches School in Oswestry attended the event with peers from Kinver High School in Staffordshire and The Jane Lane School in Walsall.

Among the guests were former RAF navigator Caroline Paige, the first openly transgender to serve in the UK armed forces, and Patricia Porter from Metal Seagulls, who started her life in Ghana before immigrating to pursue a career in aircraft engineering.

These were joined by Zoe Mason from the University of Wolverhampton, Sania Shazad, an apprentice at Collins Aerospace, Kayanet Isran who works in town planning and transport and self-made caricature Chris Ryder.

Mary Kujawski, access and learning officer at RAF Cosford Museum, said the variety of speakers had an impact on not just the students.

Caroline Paige, who was the first ever transgender pilot in the RAF, and one of the speakers at the 'Beyond Image' event at RAF Museum, Cosfords. She is pictured with Marches School pupils Pippa Birch and Molly Bowyer, both aged 14

"It really was wonderful to see so many positive interactions between the pupils and all the speakers," she said.

"They all have such different backgrounds which allowed them to touch each student in a different way.


"It was nice to see the teachers get involved as well, the ages of guests ranged from a few years older than the students to women very much established in their careers so there was something for everyone so to speak."

There were 34 students in total attending the fourth Beyond Image event.

Ms Kujawksi added: "The idea is to keep the event as small and intimate as possible so everyone has a real chance to connect with each other.

"After the speeches there was an opportunity to have an informal sit down and chat, something that also proved very worthwhile."

Rory Smith

By Rory Smith
Reporter - @rorysmith_star

Senior reporter based at the Shropshire Star's head office in Ketley, Telford.


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