Rasheed Graham Interview

My name is Rasheed Graham and I am a 23-year-old male from Kensal Rise in North West London. In 2019, I was honoured to be the first black student to be awarded a place on the Aer Lingus Future Pilot Programme. As some of you will be aware, commercial pilot training is very expensive. Currently, Aer Lingus offers the only fully funded cadet programme in the world, coming from a disadvantaged background, this funded programme was the only option available to me. The selection process was highly competitive and rigorous with more than 8500 people applying for the 18 places that were on offer. I started the course in November 2019 at Flight Training Europe, which is an airline pilot academy in Jerez, Spain. Unfortunately, after the first 20 weeks the Covid 19 outbreak happened, Flight Training Europe closed and we were flown back home by Aer Lingus. However, due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic and the detrimental effect it has had on the aviation industry, Aer Lingus have decided to terminate their programme as in the current climate they considered it unsustainable for them to continue funding our training.

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