We don’t often see women in the Aviation Maintenance Technician(AMT) space, but here at LIFT Academy we are actively trying to change that. Meet a few of our female AMT Apprentices Christy and Anna. Christy came to LIFT in early 2020 from CommutAir, where she was both a Flight Attendant and trained new Flight Attendants, before she decided to come to LIFT to become an AMT Apprentice. Anna travelled the U.S. as a bike mechanic before coming to LIFT, she knew she loved working in the mechanical field and was always interested in aviation! Learn from their experiences in the program so far and what drew them to aviation.
Question: Aviation has historically been a male dominated industry, and even more so for Aviation Maintenance Technicians. What interested you about the filed?
Christy Perez Vasquez: What interested me about the field is the fact that I would be able to work more hands on, as opposed to when I was a flight attendant. I also wanted to know more about what it takes to keep airplanes flying. Having worked at LIFT, and now finishing the last few months of my apprenticeship at Republic, it has opened my eyes to how much work mechanics do.
Anna Dewitt: I wanted to get into the field because of my passion to work with my hands and in a shop. I also pursued aviation to hopefully be an inspiration to other women, to show that a female presence is important in all fields, especially mechanical! Women working in shops and hangars was unheard of back in the day. Right now, I am part of the group of women who are the future of aviation maintenance technicians – we’re making history and breaking barriers!
What were you doing prior to coming to the LIFT AMT Apprenticeship Program?
Christy: I was a Flight Attendant at CommutAir, which is another regional airline that operates for United Express, similar to Republic Airways. I was also a Flight Attendant Instructor, teaching new hire Flight Attendants how to evacuate the various aircraft, how to do CPR and fight fires, as well as observing them on their first few flights after new hire ground school.
Anna: I have been a bicycle mechanic for the last 10 years. I have done this work in Portland, Oregon, Alaska and Hawaii. I hope be able to work on planes and travel once I complete my training.
What drew you to the LIFT Maintenance Apprenticeship Program specifically?
Christy: What drew me to LIFT was the fact that I would be getting paid to go to school. I began my search by looking at schools in New Jersey where I lived, and the schools out there for Airframe and Powerplant are very expensive. I would have had to find a part time job while I attended. Then, I looked for apprenticeship programs in Virginia and several other East Coast states and failed to find any. When I found this opportunity at LIFT Academy, I honestly felt like I struck gold!
Anna: I was researching Aircraft Mechanic Apprenticeships and LIFT was one of the options that came up. Seeing it was near a new city I hadn’t been to yet really intrigued me and inspired me to move for this job.
What about the LIFT Maintenance Apprenticeship works best for you?
Christy: What works best for me is the fact that I am doing something I’ve always wanted to do, and I get paid to do it. This program combines both, and it honestly makes everything so much less stressful for me.
Anna: Working four days a week is really nice. Having LIFT pay for my A&P test is a huge help at the end of this. I also really appreciate that when I complete the program I will have a lot of hands on experience, which is required to be able to work as an Aviation Maintenance Technician in the field.
What is your favorite thing about LIFT?
Christy: My favorite part of LIFT is the family atmosphere. When I started at LIFT, I didn’t know anyone here in Indiana, and every time I show up for work I’m happy to see my fellow coworkers who are now also my friends.
Anna: My favorite thing about LIFT is the opportunity it offers. I am being paid to train so I can advance in my career.
What are you most proud of accomplishing in your training at LIFT so far?
Christy: What I am most proud about is the fact that I can say, “That plane is flying with something I fixed or replaced.” It makes me feel so proud. I came to the United States when I was 9 years old. Not having much, I worked hard throughout the years to get to where I am now. I can definitely say I am living my dreams thanks to LIFT Academy creating this apprenticeship program.
Anna: I’m proud of how far I have come in just four months of training. Going from no experience in aviation to working on engines and airframe, doing taxi runs and studying for the A&P test – I have learned a lot and I’m excited to keep learning more.
What do you plan to do after completing the LIFT Maintenance Apprenticeship Program and passing you’re FAA A&P Certification?
Christy: My goal after LIFT is to be an AMT at Republic Airways.
Anna: I am not sure what I will do once I complete the program and pass the FAA A&P Certification. I do know that in the future, I would like to move back to Oregon and hopefully eventually work at Boeing and travel.
What is one piece of advice you would give to your younger self about pursuing a career in aviation?
Christy: The advice I would give my younger self is: Christy, never doubt yourself. Be confident in your work, and if you have questions, ask them! You’re as equally as capable of doing things as your fellow apprentices, so don’t hold yourself back because of fear!
Anna: I wish I could tell myself to start sooner than later. The sooner you start the apprenticeship the faster you are done and the sooner I can keep working forward to my higher aviation goals!