Aspiring pilot Paul Stephenson has received vital funding from Middlesbrough-based engineering company Intelect to help him towards achieving his dream of becoming a commercial airline pilot.
Earlier in the year, Paul, a former award-winning RAF air cadet from Eston, Middlesbrough, was offered the opportunity of a life time – a partial scholarship to complete his Air Transport Pilot License in Dundee, Scotland.
Despite the partial scholarship removing some of the financial burden that Paul would face, financial circumstances in his personal life meant he would still struggle to find the remaining funds to cover the cost of his exams and other expenses.
Not wanting to give up on his dream, Paul’s grit and determination shone through, and he took the chance and moved to Scotland, where he began his training with premier flying school, Tayside Aviation.
Knowing how much flying meant to him, while he was away, Paul’s family and friends began drumming up support to help him through his qualifications, with some of them even completing the Yorkshire Three Peak Challenge as a way of fundraising.
After hearing about his successful achievements with the RAF Cadets on the radio earlier in the year, where he received the ‘Flying Excellence Award’, and seeing that his family and friends were trying to raise funds to help him, Intelect managing director Fran Cormican offered a helping hand.
“As soon as I heard that Paul was in need of support, I instantly wanted to help him. His passion and determination about flying comes across in everything that he does, and I firmly believe that his financial situation shouldn’t hinder his ability to do what he loves,” said Fran.
Intelect’s £1,000 sponsorship will contribute towards the payment of 14 compulsory exams that Paul has to sit, and pass, in order to achieve his license. Each exam comes at a cost of £73 and must be sat in London at three separate intervals throughout the first-year of his three-year course.
Paul said: “Since the age of 13, all I have ever wanted to do is become a Pilot. The RAF Cadets have played a huge part in my development as a person, and in my pilot career, and I cannot thank them enough for the opportunities they have given me – I wouldn’t be where I am today without them.
“The continuous support of my family, friends, the RAF Cadets and now local businesses makes me even more determined to achieve my dream, and it’s now becoming a reality before my eyes with the help of Tayside Aviation.
“Intelect’s support has lifted a huge financial burden off my shoulders, allowing me to focus solely on passing my exams. Never in my life did I expect this to happen to me, and I will be eternally grateful to everyone who has helped get me to where I am today.”