Coachlines - January 2024

30.01.24 Steward Neil Sheath and Laila Fadli Dokkali

A ‘fairy tale’ as told by a Sir Sydney Camm Scholarship Winner

Last year Laila Fadli Dokkali was awarded the Coachmakers’ Sir Sydney Camm Aerospace Scholarship to help complete her undergraduate project. The award helped her graduate with a first-class honours in Aeronautical Engineering from Brunel University and has now progressed to a Master’s in Aerospace Vehicle Design at Cranfield University. She says the award really helped her get going with her career, having worked prior to university to save and self-fund her studies.

In a letter to the Coachmakers, she wrote: “I would like to take this opportunity to inform you and the rest of the Coachmakers that I have successfully finished my degree with a first with honours, with my major project receiving an A* grade. Thank you for your support and for believing in my project.”

The contribution we make to the lives of those we support is clear, and below is the text which Laila independently published online which is an inspiring read for us all:

“My life has completely changed in the past year in a way that I could have never imagined, and to be honest it still feels quite surreal… Due to my life experiences, I have always struggled to believe in myself and to put myself out there for everyone to see my potential. Now, I realise that I have suffered from severe impostor syndrome, and this affects thousands of people around the world, especially those from ethnic minorities, disadvantaged backgrounds and gender minorities, and especially in the STEM sector.

“In April 2023, in my final year of my undergraduate degree at Brunel University London, I was awarded the Sir Sydney Camm Scholarship by The Worshipful Company of Coachmakers and Coach Harness Makers, and the impact that had on my self-perception and accessibility to educational tools to support my learning difficulties, was a game changer. I still remember the underground journey to the interview and how anxious I was and the little expectation of success that I had.

“However, when I walked into the interview. I felt comfortable, heard, and supported; it was more of a conversation about myself and various interesting aviation topics, and I can say that I enjoyed the process. A few days later an email notifying that I was awarded the scholarship, and the confidence boost that gave me changed my view of myself and my career completely. In my mind I entered a room and by being my true self and without trying to mask my neurodivergence, I was successful in the process. There must be something that I was doing right. This experience encouraged me to go for every opportunity out there, to be my true and authentic self and to be proud of who I truly am. It also pushed me to start focusing on the social impact that I always wanted to work on, especially on future generations of STEM students from ethnic minorities and limited-sourced backgrounds. My first steps towards this project, was thanks to Simon Witts, member of the Livery.

Laila and her mother at the Aerospace Industry Dinner

“Last Thursday, I attended The Worshipful Company of Coachmakers and Coach Harness Makers’ Aerospace Industry Dinner, where I was formally presented with my award and I had the opportunity of meeting incredible people from the aerospace industry, and share insightful conversations. Special thanks to Paul Livingston, Howard Cook, Christopher Boot, and Mark Thomas for taking the time to talk to me and making the evening a memorable occasion.

“I was thrilled to get to take my mum to the dinner and proudly wear our traditional clothing, representing my roots, my people and the change. This is not only an award for me; this is for all the children and young people aspiring to be in STEM, a sector where we are not as yet represented. This is for all the children with dreams, for all the immigrant parents who, like mine, fought for their children’s better future. This is for the ones that feel and are marginalised by society. This is for us.”