SPIN programme aims to bridge the skills gap

09/02/24 | Sector/Industry News

Satellite Applications Catapult (SAC) showcased the Space Placements in Industry (SPIN) programme at the Westcott Engage networking event, attended by Westcott Space Cluster businesses. The main aim of this initiative is to address the skills gap within the UK Space sector.

The UK Space Agency (UKSA) has reported that more than half of the businesses in the industry are experiencing a shortage of skilled professionals, which is adversely affecting their performance and growth.

Recognising the immense potential of the global space sector and the UK's position as a hub of technological engineering and innovation, urgent action is required to reduce this skills deficit.

At the UK Space Conference held last November and following the 11th Annual SPIN Showcase, UKSA showcased the SPIN programme then announced a grant funding of over £650,000 to SAC to manage the placement of a record number of SPINtern placements.

Placement opportunities for individuals interested in pursuing a career in the space sector opened in January and SAC is now actively encouraging inquiries from potential host organisations with short-term projects, typically lasting eight weeks, who wish to provide students with valuable skills and insights into their business.

Kathie Bowden, Skills Manager at the Satellite Applications Catapult, spoke at the monthly networking event 'Westcott Engage' on Wednesday, January 31st. The event was attended by members of the Westcott Space Cluster, where Kathie promoted the SPIN programme to companies seeking to offer projects to students.

Kathie explained: “Over 500 students have been through the SPIN programme since 2013 and its great to see some of these alumni now leading companies in the space sector.  The UK Space Agency funding has increased for this year’s programme, so we hope to encourage as many businesses as possible to take part.  It’s a great opportunity for companies to get a small project completed and to see how a potential employee might fit into their business.”

Emily Dingle, COO at AVS UK, said: “For the past few years, our business has been fortunate to have SPINtern’s as part of our team.  Without exception, every SPINtern has been offered a permanent job and are now thriving as engineers within our company.

“It’s a fantastic programme which provides students with a unique opportunity to gain a deep understanding of our business, while allowing us to truly understand the potential of each student before they join us as full-time staff members.”Matt Peachey, Head of Enterprise Zone Development at Buckinghamshire Local Enterprise Partnership said: "We recognise the urgent need to create a pipeline of talent to fuel the rapidly growing UK Space Sector. The SPIN programme will play a crucial role in growing this pipeline of skills within the Enterprise Zone site at Westcott.

“The SPIN programme serves as a crucial initiative to bridge the skills gap in the UK space sector. By providing students with valuable placement opportunities, it not only equips them with the necessary skills but also offers insights into the industry. This investment in talent development is a significant step towards ensuring the UK remains at the forefront of space exploration and innovation.”

As the global space sector continues to expand, it is imperative for the UK to nurture a skilled workforce that can seize the abundant opportunities it presents. The SPIN programme, along with the collaborative efforts of the Bucks LEP, industry partners, the SAC and UKSA, is poised to fuel the growth of the UK space sector and solidify its position as a global leader in technological advancements.

More information about the programme can be found here https://sa.catapult.org.uk/spin/award-scheme-2024/

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