Lift-off for space training in Cornwall

Truro and Penwith College will be opening the doors of its brand-new £7 million ‘Valency’ training centre on Friday 02 July at a free launch event for space and aerospace businesses in Cornwall.

The launch event will be the first opportunity for businesses to meet the College’s Cornwall Space and Aerospace Technology Training (CSATT) team, tour state-of-the-art facilities that rival the best in the UK and explore how the project will boost the sector. Employers can find out more and register now on Eventbrite or the College’s website; www.truro-penwith.ac.uk/lift-off.   

In collaboration with businesses and educators, CSATT is developing world-class training courses to help businesses and individuals reach new heights in support of the long-term success of the sector that is expected to add £1 billion to the Cornish economy. 

The project’s specialist training courses will include higher-level apprenticeships, short courses and degrees that will support growth, boost employment and fill skills gaps for local businesses, while providing those working in the sector, and those wanting to enter the sector, with the skills needed to enjoy successful space and aerospace careers.  

Training development is supported by sector experts Goonhilly Earth Station, Spaceport Cornwall and Aerospace Cornwall, with further support from the University of Exeter, University of Leicester, and the Open University. 

The training is expected to span many areas of the sector, from precision manufacturing to artificial intelligence for earth observation, satellite communications and horizontal launch. The skills developed will directly support live projects such as Spaceport Cornwall’s first ever orbital satellite launch, that is expected to create 150 immediate jobs, with the potential for thousands more in the long term.  

The project at Truro and Penwith College is led by Project Manager Heidi Thiemann, an experienced space sector educationalist who has worked in the emerging space skills domain for over five years, launching the Space Skills Alliance where she analysed skills demands, created skills taxonomies and ran the first national census of the UK space sector. 

Heidi commented: “The Cornish space economy is growing rapidly, and we need people with the right skills to keep that growth going. Through CSATT, we’re going to provide that world-class space training to ensure that businesses and individuals are supported and given exciting career opportunities.” 

The Valency building recently opened as part of the College’s partnership in the South West Institute of Technology, a government-led project to equip the British workforce with skills required across key sectors and is a state-of-the-art engineering and technology hub. 

Kathie Bowden, who leads on ‎space skills and careers at the UK Space Agency, said: 

“The government has big ambitions for the space industry, and the time is right for a new specialist space training facility in the South West. Over the next decade, tens of thousands of space jobs could be created, many of which will be in Cornwall. CSATT will play a vital role in providing people with the high-level skills they need to build careers in Britain’s most exciting sector.” 

James Fairbairn, Business Development Manager at AeroSpace Cornwall said: 

“We offer R&D funding for businesses who want to be part of the space supply chain, with the aim of growing the Cornwall Space Cluster, so the announcement of Cornwall Space and Aerospace Technology Training is a welcome one. It will be a big boost for local businesses and will help raise awareness of Cornwall’s capability in space and aerospace to a wider audience – bringing opportunities and investment into the region.  AeroSpace Cornwall is excited to work more closely with Truro and Penwith College to enable this to happen.”  

Kat Hickey, Senior Business Development Manager at Goonhilly Earth Station said: 

“Goonhilly Earth Station Ltd is thrilled to be a partner in this exciting project. Provision of local space sector training is very important to us from a recruitment perspective, but also in terms of engaging with the communities that surround us, driving interest in STEM and facilitating the development of technical skills locally. We can’t wait to see where in the space sector our local children and young people will land over the years to come!” 

Those representing a Cornish business who want to attend the free launch event or find out more about the project are encouraged to get in touch with Heidi at heidit@truro-penwith.ac.uk or visit www.truro-penwith.ac.uk/lift-off.