An apprenticeship combines practical training in a job with study. Apprentices work alongside experienced staff to gain job-specific skills whilst earning a wage and working towards a number of qualifications.
If university isn’t for you, then there are still plenty of ways to get into the space sector. There is a skills gap in the space sector as there aren’t enough people with the technical skills the industry needs. An apprenticeship combines practical training in a job with study. Apprentices work alongside experienced staff to gain job-specific skills whilst earning a wage and working towards a number of qualifications.
To start an apprenticeship you need to be 16 or over, living in England, and not in full-time education. There are three levels of apprenticeship:
Find out more about apprenticeships on Gov.uk.
Finding an Apprenticeship
The simplest method is to simply email all of the space companies that you know either in your area or nationwide with speculative enquiries. Alternatively, the Government keeps a database of apprenticeships. There are not always relevant vacancies available, but checking frequently will give you the best chance of finding one.
Some companies recruit new apprentices onto structured schemes every year. Some of these are listed below:
Airbus - Technical - Stevenage or Portsmouth
RAL Space - Computing - Didcot
Reaction Engines - Engineering - Abingdon
Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd (SSTL) - Mechanical Engineering, Electrical Engineering, IT - Surrey
QinetiQ - Science, Technology, and Business - Boscombe Down
Lockheed Martin - Engineering or IT - UK
Higher Apprenticeship in Space Engineering
If you have already completed an advanced apprenticeship and are employed in the space sector then you can enrol in the Higher Apprenticeship in Space Engineering. The Higher Apprenticeship is a unique programme run by Loughborough College and the National Space Centre that combines maths, science, and engineering with specific practical training, and offers the opportunity to earn while you study. The course includes a Foundation Degree in Space Engineering and a Level 4 work based competence programme, it could also lead to a full BSc or BEng degree.
Higher - can lead to NVQ Level 4 and above, or a foundation degree
Advanced - equivalent to 2 A level passes
Intermediate - equivalent to 5 GCSE passes