Cornwall will soon have training delivery for a range of careers in the space sector to rival the world’s best with the launch of an innovative space technology training project.

Truro and Penwith College is delivering on the collaboration in partnership with the University of Exeter as part of the ESF-funded Smart Specialisation project.

The project officially starts on May 4 and will provide the opportunity for a team of experts in space and satellite technology, engineering, physics and astronomy to work with employers in Cornwall in identifying appropriate training to help boost their development and the development of the sector as a whole.

Heidi Thiemann

Guided by experts in the sector based at the University of Leicester and the Open University and, in Cornwall, at Goonhilly Earth Station, Spaceport Cornwall and Aerospace Cornwall, the team will develop a suite of courses to support new and existing businesses linked to the space industry. Further expert delivery will support the CPD of post-graduate staff employed within the sector and provide additional training for those involved in developing projects and businesses.

Heading up the team as space technology training project manager is Heidi Thiemann, an experienced space sector educationalist who has worked in the space skills domain for over five years.

Thiemann launched the Space Skills Alliance to tackle skill shortages in the sector, where she worked on analysing skills demands and the quality of space job adverts, creating skills taxonomies, and running the first national census of the UK space sector.

She co-founded in 2015, a careers website for young people, which has since become the go-to resource for the space sector. She also mentors young people at Space School UK and is completing a PhD in astrophysics at The Open University.

“With the long history of Goonhilly Earth Station and the exciting future of Spaceport Cornwall, it’s the new place to be for space in the UK, and I’m thrilled to be part of it,” Thiemann said.

“Through the Space and Aerospace Skills Development Project, Truro and Penwith College will bring together space industry employers and educators, making sure that we’re providing the people of Cornwall with the training and employment opportunities they need to work in this exciting new sector.”

Andy Stittle, the college’s director of partnerships, added: “This is an exciting project and 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 in ensuring the success of the space and aero industry.”

The Space Technology Training project team will be housed in the college’s new Valency building at Truro, which has opened as part of the South West Institute of Technology as a state-of-the-art engineering and technology hub.