South West first for out of this world apprenticeship

The development of the South West’s first Space Engineering Technician apprenticeship was announced on Friday at a special event attended by dignitaries and VIPs at Truro College.

Mayor of Truro Steven Webb, Heidi Thiemann, Cherilyn Mackrory MP and Martin Tucker in the College's Valency building.

Mayor of Truro Steven Webb, Heidi Thiemann, Cherilyn Mackrory MP and Martin Tucker at the CSATT launch event in the College’s £7 million Valency building.

The ground-breaking apprenticeship was revealed at the launch of Truro and Penwith College’s Cornwall Space and Aerospace Technology Training (CSATT), which is being delivered through the ESF part-funded SS HLS project.

CSATT is developing the apprenticeship along with new short courses that will boost Cornwall’s £1 billion Space and Aerospace sector.

Cherilyn Mackrory MP and Mayor of Truro Steven Webb joined staff and 60 employers from across Cornwall to tour Truro College’s brand-new £7 million South West Institute of Technology engineering and technology centre, ‘Valency’, over two socially distanced engagement sessions.

The sessions saw the start of ongoing consultation with employers operating in Space and Aerospace to help shape training content and ensure maximum impact for local industry.

Truro and Penwith College aims to be the second provider in the UK to offer the new university level apprenticeship at level 4, with potential for learners to study additional qualifications that will take their training up to a level 5 HNC in Space Engineering.

The CSATT launch event included employer consultations that laid out the College’s intentions to support the developing Space sector in Cornwall.

With sufficient demand from employers, the first apprentices could start in September 2022 and will be involved in the design and production of satellites, components and subsystems along with the production, operation and maintenance of highly specialised ground support equipment that is used to develop and test satellites before launch.

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 event also saw employers take part in ‘skills discussions’ around the content of a range of new short courses that the College is also introducing in September 2021.

Through the CSATT project, employers will access the first pilot short courses for free with subjects including Space Law, Monetising Space Data, Leadership & Management in Space & Aerospace and Welding for Space Applications, along with support sessions to help businesses access UK and European Space Agency funding.

Employers in the workshop while touring the College's Valency building.

A group of employers tour the Valency building a the CSATT launch event.

Heidi Thiemann, CSATT Project Manager at Truro and Penwith College, commented: “The apprenticeship and short courses are the first of many innovative space and aerospace training projects we are going to announce over the coming months and years.

“The Cornish space economy is growing rapidly and we need people with the right skills to maintain that growth. 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”.

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 training will 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 £7million Valency building recently opened at Truro College 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. 

The College has also revealed plans for a £6.3 million STEM and Health Skills Centre in Bodmin that will open in April, transforming the teaching of industry-relevant skills in East Cornwall.

Martin Tucker, Principal at Truro and Penwith College said: “This is an exciting project that 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, ensuring the success of the Space and Aerospace industry”.

The College is encouraging employers operating in Space, Aerospace, related sectors and supply chains to get in touch with Heidi to find out more about the project; heidit@truro-penwith.ac.uk.