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So you want to be a Jet Pilot or Astronaut? IB Career-related Programme at GEMS International first in UAE to offer Aviation and Aerospace opportunities for students in partnership with Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.

In a blockbuster move for students aspiring to a career in the aerospace sector globally, GEMS International School – Al Khail has become the first school in the UAE to partner with Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (ERAU) to power its International Baccalaureate Career-related Programme. In a radical move, the IC CrP at GEMS International will be powered by US Aerospace courses from Embry-Riddle through its ERAU Dual Enrolment Programme – options that are not currently available in the British  BTEC qualification that usually underpins the Career-related Programme.

GEMS International School Al Khail in partnership with Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University will power its International Baccalaureate Career-related Programme with courses in Aerospace

New energy sources one of many major issues facing the Aerospace sector.

The partnership between GEMS International School and Embry-Riddle represents the first school-level access opportunity for students in the UAE aspiring to the broadest spectrum of careers in aerospace – from astronauts, jet pilots, engineers and drone operators to space station managers, homeland security operatives and defence specialists in aeronautics and astronautics.

Future generations of students can expect to be on the frontline of issues in the sector ranging from sustainability and power systems to future colonisation of space.

In a further major benefit, graduating students from GEMS International School Al Kahil will be awarded the equivalent of a full year’s university credits, allowing them to step directly into Year Two of their university Bachelors’ degree Programme at American universities worldwide. 

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University is one of the most prestigious and in-demand universities in the world for aviation and aeronautics study, with famous alumni including Lloyd W. “Fig” Newton, the first African-American pilot in the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds.

Danield Burbank alumni of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University - now in partnership with GEMS International School Al Khail in Dubai for the IB Career-related Programme

Dan Riddle, a pioneer in space travel to the International Space Station, is one of many leading alumni of Embry-Riddle, a university now in partnership with GEMS International School Al Khail in delivery of the first UAE IB CrP programme in Aerospace.

Other famous alumni include the veteran American astronaut Daniel Christopher Burbank with a history of space shuttle mission to the International Space Station including Expedition 30 and General Timothy Michael Ray, former Commander of Air Force Global Strike Command.


Photograph of General Timothy M Ray

General Timothy Michael Ray, former Commander of Air Force Global Strike Command.

Simon Herbert, Head of School and Chief Executive Officer, GEMS International School told SchoolsCompared:

“As the GEMS Centre of Excellence for Aviation and Space, we are delighted to be partnering with Embry Riddle Aeronautical University.

The partnership is hugely enriching for our students, and provides yet another superb pathway that personalises the education we provide.

It places our school at the forefront in terms of seeking out opportunities for our students and graduates, while also providing parents with a significant discount on university fees.”

Children aspiring for a career in Aerospace now have a school to meet their needs in the UAE.

Matthew Flaherty, Vice Chancellor and Head of Asia, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University – Asia, responded:

“It gives us great pleasure to recognise GEMS International School – Al Khail as one of our partners under the ERAU Dual Enrolment Programme.

We are confident this partnership will allow students enrolled at the school to benefit from ERAU’s reputation as one of the world’s leading higher education institutions in aviation and aerospace education.

With this head start in aviation and aerospace education while still in high school, GEMS students are preparing themselves for a fulfilling career not only in aviation and aerospace, but also in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.”

The new Aerospace founded Career-related Programme (Aeronautics and Aviation) is one of a number of Career-related Programme options offered by the school which launched the IB CrP in 2021.  Other specialisms include Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) and  Business combined with either STEM or Aerospace.

The Aerospace and STEM foundation of the CrP is being run online with Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University whilst the core International Baccalaureate subjects are delivered by expert GEMS International teachers.

Read our fully review of GEMS International School Al Khail here.

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About The Author
Jon Westley
Jon Westley is the Editor of and UK. You can email him at jonathanwestley [at]

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