A new campaign that aims to educate thousands of young people through Ayrshire in Scotland and beyond on careers in the UK’s growing space sector is to be launched by Prestwick Spaceport and affiliated aerospace companies.
Throughout 2022,’A new hope‘ campaign, linked to South Ayrshire Council‘s’skypath‘, will include an educational outreach video for students and teachers featuring local heroes from Ayrshire and across Scotland. The campaign will initially target high school students, while a competition to design a ‘Mission patch‘ to mark the inaugural launch of the Prestwick Small Satellites will focus on primary schools.
The initiative aims to break down perceived barriers to careers in space and inspire young people to pursue their dreams. It will highlight the growing need for future generations to consider a career in space in order to reduce skills gaps that could hinder the growth of the sector, one of the fastest growing industries in the UK and offers many benefits for the economy, the environment and wider society.
The campaign will feature advice from well-known Scots who have aimed high and succeeded in various inspiring career paths, as well as a selection of young people already working in aerospace, alerting them to emerging space opportunities on their doorstep. Key messages will aim to encourage young people to reach for the stars and will include information on the range of job opportunities in the space sector. These are both technical and non-technical jobs, which means that logistics personnel, creative designers, architects, lawyers and marketing professionals will be as “in demand” as scientists and engineers.
The spaceport, which is being developed alongside Scotland’s largest aerospace cluster, is aiming to become Europe’s first space hub and has already secured multimillion-pound funding through the Ayrshire Growth Agreement. The educational outreach campaign is expected to play a significant role in showcasing the growing space activity at Prestwick, as well as a host of supply chain opportunities beyond launch, creating 4,000 new jobs.
In addition to Prestwick’s efforts to inspire young people locally, the Spaceport team recently worked alongside an industry-led group Space Scotland and partners AstroAgency to carry out a study tracking various educational outreach activities taking place across Scotland and the UK. The report, produced as part of a British Space Agency finance Development of the regional space project, focused on STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics), exploring the range of initiatives undertaken by space companies and providing recommendations on how to bring activities together to achieve greater impact.
Mick O’Connorprogram director of Prestwick Spaceport, said:We want to inspire young people to pursue their dreams, whatever they may be. We asked local heroes who have achieved success in different areas to help us by telling their own stories about how they achieved their goals to help young people realize that with the right desire, belief and commitment, they can achieve their own dreams. Many of us on the Spaceport team had never imagined working in space, so we are passionate about making young people in Ayrshire aware of the possibilities. At the same time, we want to highlight other paths to a career in space, particularly around the use of space technology to fight climate change, prevent illegal fishing, predict the spread of wildfires forest or monitor soil moisture levels to stop landslides, to name a few. .”
Matt Archer, director of commercial spaceflight at the UK space agency, said: “The launch is already creating highly skilled jobs in communities across the UK and developing the future talent pool is key to ensuring its continued success. Scotland is home to around a fifth of all space jobs in the UK, and this campaign from Prestwick Spaceport is a great example of the kinds of initiatives we need to help inspire the next generation to reach for the stars and consider careers in the UK prosper. space sector.”
The ‘A New Hope’ campaign is being supported by the £251.5m investment in the Ayrshire Growth Deal, a partnership between North, East and South Ayrshire Councils, as well as the Scottish and British governments. Part of this funding is allocated to aerospace development in the region, including the construction of a spaceport, and gives importance to the future skills pipeline in Ayrshire. Prestwick Spaceport will join the campaign with Skypath, an existing initiative of South Ayrshire Council’s Economy and Regeneration Service which aims to inspire people to consider a career in aerospace.
Prestwick is already home to major players in the aerospace industry such as BAE systems, GE Caledonian, Spirit AeroSystems, Woodward and Collins Aerospace. Ayrshire’s growth agreement will help position Prestwick as a European leader in spaceflight and space technology.