A co-operative project has been launched in the urban air mobility industry to create its first Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) programme.

In collaboration with P3 Tech Consulting, Women and Drones and the Diversity Development Network of Canada (DDNC), the companies seek to understand the current DEI benchmark by obtaining feedback through a survey, which went live on Friday and will close on August 27th.

In future, the project hopes to develop a sector white paper and identify resources to support businesses within the unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) and urban air mobility sectors, and help their DEI development and implementation.

A press release announcing the survey said: “The potential shortage in engineers alone could set the industry back years. We need to inspire a diverse talent pool to enter into this and related aerospace career fields, and then retain that talent.

“That’s exactly what Women and Drones, whose network brings together women from around the globe to connect and succeed in the Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) and Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) industries, hopes to do.”

The survey follows on from a recent thought-provoking commentary by Mike Hirschberg, Executive Director at the Vertical Flight Society, who talks about the importance of diversity in this sector and the need for an additional 10,000 engineers this decade.

And earlier this year, Iskwew Air – a member of the Canadian Advanced Air Mobility Consortium (CAAM) – set up its own Aircraft Maintenance Organisation to increase the representation of women in aviation and aerospace.

Led by Teara Fraser – the first indigenous woman in Canada to set up and own an airline – Iskwew Air estimates that just 2.8 per cent of aircraft maintenance engineers are women and less than 0.5 per cent are women of colour.

The launch date of its AMO – March 11th – was chosen to reflect the 50th anniversary of Maureen Routledge, who became the first woman in Canada to be licensed as an aircraft maintenance engineer. Iskwew Air’s AMO is currently led by Alisha Sohpaul, who is a licensed M1 & M2 Aircraft Maintenance Engineer.

Commenting on the survey, Sharon Rossmark, Women and Drones CEO, added: “People are busy and we appreciate that. Still, we hope that all UAS/AAM stakeholders, at every level will share their perspectives and provide input. Your input is critical to the selection and development of meaningful programs and initiatives, and ultimately, to sustain and grow the industry.”

Each group of 50 individual responses will be entered into a draw for a free $50 Amazon gift card. To take the survey, click here.