Captain Barrington Irving is happy that the training institution he founded is helping other minorities find long-standing careers in aviation.

It’s no secret that there is a lack of diversity in aviation when it comes to pilots, and research conducted in 2022 found that less than two percent of commercial airline pilots are Black, according to NBC News.

Although Irving not only broke a glass ceiling when he became the youngest person and first Black pilot to journey around the world solo, he is now encouraging more people of color to consider aviation as a career through education, according to News 7 Miami.

Irving founded the Barrington Irving Technical Training School to guide and teach the next generation interested in becoming pilots the fundamental tools needed to be successful in the industry.

Feeling like a happy parent, Captain Irving recently celebrated 15 new graduates who completed his training program with a ceremony at Opa-locka Airport in Miami. This is a full-circle moment for the educator because he began his career at the same airport as a struggling student. His student rosters have been filled with people from diverse cultures who already had an interest in aviation, faced hardships, or didn’t have any background in it, which makes him take pride in the work he’s doing to assist in changing their lives.

“I am so proud of them, and to know what they started from,” Irving told the news station. “Opa-locka Airport is where I got my start.”


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In addition to receiving their certifications during the commencement ceremony, all graduates get to choose what company best suits them for their first job out of school since they’re offered jobs from several different companies.

“These young people are signing with various companies in the community who said, you know what, ‘We’re going to give you a chance, we’re going to give you an opportunity to flourish within our industry,'” Irving said.

One of the graduates, Victor Zupiera, who landed a job as a Line Service Technician with Atlantic Aviation, is thankful for his time at the school because he expanded his perspective about the types of opportunities he has in life.

“Working here for Barrington truly changed my whole perspective on that and my whole career path and what I wanted to pursue,” Zupiera said. “I found a passion in aviation and it’s truly changed my life.”

The Miami Dade Mayor Daniela Levine Cava attended the ceremony and shared a few words in support of the work Irving and his learning center are doing.

“They are essential to our economy, hard to fill, and we have talent here at home that we are growing,” she said at the event where Irving’s next batch of students was announced.

The ceremony ended with Tremaine Johnson, another graduate sharing his excitement about his newfound career path and the relationships he’s built. In addition, he hopes people see him and know they’re capable of accomplishing the same.

“[I want to] just expand my knowledge of aviation,” Johnson said. “Fueling trucks, parking airplanes, networking with everybody [in] aviation and lending a helping hand for people behind me that want to get into aviation as well.”