Truro and Penwith College has welcomed last week’s news that funding has been secured to establish Europe’s first horizontal launch spaceport in Cornwall.

Subject to business plan approval, Cornwall Council will provide up to £12 million for the scheme at Cornwall Airport Newquay alongside up to £7.85 million from the UK Space Agency. A further contribution of £500k will come from the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership.

The funding will allow Spaceport Cornwall and Virgin Orbit, which is investing an additional £2.5 million, to develop facilities and operational capabilities at the site.

Truro and Penwith College already works closely with private and public sector partners to deliver and develop education and skills training and these include two major partners in the growing space sector in Cornwall, Goonhilly Earth Station and Avanti Communications Group PLC, for whom the college delivers apprentice and other workforce training.

Five apprenticeship positions have already been created in Cornwall thanks to this tech focus, including three based at Goonhilly Earth Station. At Avanti Communications Group PLC, the UK’s first spacecraft operations apprentices recently started their roles, helping to remotely control £200 million satellites in space.

The college also welcomes the spaceport news because it follows the Department for Education’s approval of the new Institute of Technology in the South West (SWIoT), which will establish a range of new buildings and facilities across the region and has Truro and Penwith College as the partner in Cornwall.

A new Cyber Security Foundation Degree and Higher Level Certificate pathway are due to start in September as part of the SWIoT provision.

Truro and Penwith College principal, David Walrond, said: “The Institute and our existing partnership work are ideally aligned to be responsive in helping provide the training pipeline for the spaceport’s technology need. It will inspire young people to gain high level qualifications and skills with excellent career pathways now locally available.”