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UK space sector to back 50 SP-INternships this summer

Posted 13 July 2020 · Add Comment

Despite the widespread disruption and uncertainty caused by the coronavirus pandemic, the UK space sector is recruiting 50 paid space internships this summer.

Above: SPINterns at the UK Space Conference 2019.
courtesy UK Space Agency

The UK Space Agency-backed Space Placement in Industry Scheme (SPIN) provides unique opportunities for undergraduate students considering a career in the space sector, and for space sector organisations looking to find the talent of tomorrow.

The space sector is growing rapidly in the UK and could kick-start an additional 30,000 new job opportunities over the next decade.

Kathie Bowden, lead for Skills and Careers at the UK Space Agency, said: "The SPIN placements allow students to influence their own learning choices, providing them with an environment where they can showcase their skills and abilities to a range of employers.

"The versatility of the space sector in this current climate means that the interns won’t be disadvantaged this summer and will still be able to add valuable experience to their CVs."

Klara Halikova, an ecological and environmental science student at the University of Edinburgh, is on a placement with forestry and environmental monitoring company, 2Excel Geo. She said: "Big data and remote sensing are an up-and-coming field for an environmental scientist. Throughout my degree I was not given the opportunity to explore them as much as I would have liked.

"This placement is allowing me to catch up with the industry allowing me to push ahead in my field."

The majority of placements are being adapted to start remotely. Placements which demand a physical presence in labs or cleanrooms have been made as flexible as possible with start dates delayed. Host companies are keeping an eye on the latest advice to adapt as changes occur.

Henry Franks is studying engineering at the University of Cambridge and is on a placement with Magdrive. Mark Stokes, Cofounder of Magdrive, explained: "We had a few ideas beforehand of having an on-hand intern technician, but when it became apparent that homeworking would be an ongoing way of working we decided we should focus on an area of research which could be done remotely.

"Having Henry with us for eight weeks working solely on research and development means we can utilise his specific skill set. He can dedicate the time we would not have to a project which will shape our offer to clients, and the direction the business will take."

Forty-two internships will be funded by the UK Space Agency’s Education and Space Flight Programmes this summer. A further eleven SPINternships are hosted and funded by organisations including the Satellite Applications Catapult, Quotient, an SME based in Edinburgh and the Open University.

The UK space sector is growing. Small satellite launch from the UK presents a huge opportunity for young people to take up careers in science, engineering or even as space entrepreneurs – helping to ensure the ongoing growth of the UK’s space industry.

The 53 applicants will participate in a virtual space sector induction in July and a Showcase of their work in the autumn.



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