Ofsted Outstanding Truro and Penwith College is delivering on the collaboration, unique to the South West, in partnership with the University of Exeter as part of the Meeting Smart Specialisation business needs through Higher Level Skills (SS HLS) project, which is part-funded by the European Social Fund.
The project team officially starts on May 4 and will provide the opportunity for a team of experts in space and satellite technology, engineering, physics and astronomy to work with employers in Cornwall in identifying appropriate training to help boost their development and the development of the sector as a whole.
Guided by experts in the sector based at the University of Leicester and the Open University and, in Cornwall, at Goonhilly Earth Station, Spaceport Cornwall and Aerospace Cornwall and based on information from businesses, the team will develop a suite of courses that will provide graduates and non-graduate staff within the sector with the education and training needed to support new and existing businesses linked to the space industry. Further expert delivery will support the CPD of post-graduate staff employed within the sector and provide additional training for those involved in developing projects and businesses.
Heading up the team as Space Technology Training Project Manager is Heidi Thiemann, an experienced space sector educationalist who has worked in the space skills domain for over five years.
Heidi launched the Space Skills Alliance to tackle skill shortages in the sector, where she worked on analysing skills demands and the quality of space job adverts, creating skills taxonomies, and running the first national census of the UK space sector.
She also co-founded SpaceCareers.uk in 2015, a careers website for young people, which has since become the go-to resource for the space sector. Heidi also mentors young people at Space School UK and is completing a PhD in astrophysics at The Open University.
Talking about the thrill of starting her new career just as Cornwall’s space sector starts to take off, Heidi said: “With the long history of Goonhilly Earth Station and the exciting future of Spaceport Cornwall, it's the new place to be for space in the UK, and I'm thrilled to be part of it.
“Through the Space and Aerospace Skills Development Project, Truro and Penwith College will bring together space industry employers and educators, making sure that we're providing the people of Cornwall with the training and employment opportunities they need to work in this exciting new sector.”
Andy Stittle, the College’s Director of Partnerships, said of the project: “This is an exciting project and will help ensure the College has the level of industry engagement to underpin our £12 million investment in two new state of the art technology buildings and associated resources at Truro and, opening in April 2022, at Bodmin. These facilities will fully support learners with the training and experience required to develop the necessary skills for Cornwall’s workforce in ensuring the success of the space and aero industry.”
The Space Technology Training project team will be housed in the College’s new Valency building at Truro, which has opened as part of the South West Institute of Technology as a state-of-the-art engineering and technology hub.
University level students have already begun learning in the Valency building through the College’s new HNC/HND Mechanical Engineering and FdSC Cyber Security.
Places are still available for students to study the new courses starting October 2021. Please contact the College or visit www.truro-penwith.ac.uk for more information.