Academia, UK space industry and the UK Space Agency create first space engineering apprenticeship


Airbus with other UK space companies, Leicester University and the UK Space Agency have collaborated to create the first Space Engineering Technician apprenticeship recognised by the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education (IFATE). The Department of Education has formally approved the new qualification, and the first cohort of students is expected from January 2021.


Airbus as the UK’s largest space company has been running apprenticeships in space manufacturing for more than 30 years and has trained more than 120 apprentices over the last nine years. The apprentices gained qualifications as general apprentices and craft apprentices but following discussions between academia and the UK Space Agency, Airbus’ Roy Haworth took the initiative to create a specific space apprenticeship qualification which has now been recognised by Government at the HNC Level 4.

Roy Haworth, Head of Digital Design and Manufacturing Systems at Airbus Defence and Space said: “Four years ago we looked at how we could design and develop a space technician qualification that would enable students to gain specific engineering skills in space manufacturing. Working in partnership with the UK Space Agency and Leicester University we have created the Space Engineering Technician apprenticeship which has now been officially recognised by the Department for Education and the apprenticeship qualification agency IFATE. This is a major step forward and will ensure that all future apprentices will have the skills and qualifications to further their careers in the vibrant UK space industry.”

The new apprenticeship course will cover many aspects of spacecraft manufacture and operation including design, inspection, satellite integration, problem solving and testing along with the services required to support end to end satellite communications. The course will also be part of the Apprenticeship Levy meaning that space companies can benefit from up to £19,000 funding from the Government.

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