Finding Work Experience
Finding work experience in the space sector can be tough, there are a limited number of opportunities available and they’re not always easy to get to.
Finding work experience in the space sector can be tough, there are a limited number of opportunities available and they’re not always easy to get to. Big organisations like the STFC which runs RAL Space in Oxfordshire have schemes you can apply to online. For most other companies though, you'll need to be a bit more proactive.
If you can't find any space firms to host you, don’t worry! Try to find something that's related to what you're interested in. Perhaps a civil engineering firm that builds bridges, or a software company that makes web apps. They may not do space-related things, but you'll still learn a lot (and maybe decide you'd rather not do space!). Universities and future employers want to see that you’re motivated and interested, they don’t expect you to have already found your perfect job.
Getting In Touch
Once you've found a company, send them an email or give them a ring. Make sure to mention the following points when you get in touch:
- Which year you're in
- Which school you attend
- How long you want to visit for
- Why you want to visit that company
You might write something like this:
My name is Yuri, I'm a Year 11 student at St Gagarin's Academy in Swindon. I'm really interested in becoming an engineer, and I was wondering if I could do a week's work experience with you in June from Monday 20th to Friday 25th.
Getting the Most out of Your Placement
Remember the aim of placements is to help you learn about the world work. Don’t focus too much on being able to add a new skill to your CV – you can learn many of these at home. Instead focus on finding out whether that sort of job is right for you. Do you prefer working in an office, a lab, or a workshop? Do you work best left to your own devices with a computer or in team negotiating with clients? Do you like 9-5 days, or would you prefer being able to manage your own schedule?
Take advantage of every opportunity to learn new skills, try new things, and work in different environments. If something in particular jumps out at you, then ask to do more work in that area.
If you make a good impression then the company may ask you to come back again in the future!
Jodrell Bank Work Experience (Summer) One week at the astronomical research centre of the University of Manchester
NPL Academy One week at the National Physical Laboratory
Nuffield Science Bursary (Summer) A funded placement doing research
STFC Work Experience Placement at government laboratories near Oxford
Work Experience Placement (Summer)
Year in Industry Scheme (All year)
STE(A)M Headstart Courses (Summer)
Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd One week summer work experience
Reaction Engines One week summer work experience
Thales One week work experience
Imperial College Insights Work Experience programme for year 12 (London)
European Space Agency (ESA) Internships for undergraduates (various sites in mainland Europe)