Manmeet Kaur is the inaugural recipient of the four-year SYD100 aviation scholarship to study at UNSW Sydney’s School of Aviation.

The SYD100 scholarship was announced by Sydney Airport CEO Geoff Culbert at the airport’s centenary gala dinner last year and will award one full scholarship every year for the next 100 years.

“Sydney Airport has been at the core of Australia’s aviation story for more than a century and through that time we’ve seen it all – economic shocks, world wars, and now a pandemic,” Mr Culbert said.

“We’ve emerged stronger through every challenge and that goes to the heart of what the SYD100 scholarship is all about, creating an even stronger aviation industry over the next century.

“The SYD100 scholarship will focus on bringing more diversity to the next generation of aviation leaders. It provides under-represented groups in our industry with access to the education they need, including people with diverse cultural backgrounds, women and Indigenous students.

“Manmeet is an incredibly worthy inaugural recipient and her passion and dedication to aviation bodes really well for a bright future in our industry.”

Ms Kaur is a first-year aviation management student at UNSW. She migrated to Australia from India with her family six years ago, attended high school in Western Australia and is an ex-Cadet Under Officer in the Australian Air Force Cadets.

“The thrill of flying is what draws me to aviation,” Ms Kaur said.

“I’ve been involved in civil and military aviation both through my family and my time in the cadets. This scholarship means a lot to me and brings me immense positivity, especially during times of a global pandemic.”

Professor Gabriel Lodewijks, Head of UNSW School of Aviation, said the University was thrilled to receive a century of support from Sydney Airport, highlighting the significance of aviation in Australia.

“There will always be a need for a strong aviation industry in Australia, quite simply due to our size and location in the world,” Professor Lodewijks said.

“The next 100 years in aviation will move at a very rapid pace and it’s crucial to ensure the next generation is properly prepared for what’s ahead. The challenge will be finding the right balance between technology and social interaction for passengers, as well as students understanding how technology is best used within the industry.

“We’re also pleased that Sydney Airport shares our strong commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion, providing practical support to under-represented groups in the aviation industry.”

Mr Culbert echoed the importance of investing in the sector.

“Aviation is full of very passionate people and the current crisis hasn’t changed that. This scholarship is a vital long-term investment in the industry and we’re proud to be supporting the next generation of leaders in aviation,” he said.