Athena launches a summer student space initiative across the UK
Tuesday 14th June, 2022 – Athena, the UK’s national team in space, formed by CGI, Inmarsat, Lockheed Martin UK and Serco, is launching a series of intensive national space camps across the UK.
In partnership with the National Space Academy, 120 students from 20 schools across every region of the UK will be given the opportunity to join Athena for a week-long programme that will provide an immersive experience in the world of space, building on the success of previous programmes Athena and its members have held, such as the Serco Space Week held in 2021. Athena are also pleased that the Jon Egging Trust (JET) have been able to trial the inclusion of one of their schools on the programme, with a view to building on this in future years. JET supports vulnerable young people to achieve their full potential.
Taking place in Tyne and Wear, Space Park Leicester and Truro, the programmes are designed to support those entering both Secondary Education and into Further Education to help boost both technical and academic understanding, while also highlighting potential progression pathways into careers in space and other associated STEM sectors. In addition, they have been purposely located in regions across the UK to ensure students from all backgrounds are encouraged into a sector in which average earnings are £17k per year above the national level.
George Freeman, Minister for Science, Research and Innovation, comments, “The UK’s £16bn space and satellite sector is one of the most exciting and fast-growing sectors of our future economy, set to deliver significant opportunity and prosperity across the whole country, from our spaceports in Cornwall and the North of Scotland; our satellite manufacturing in Glasgow, South Wales and Stevenage; and our growing hubs for data informatics and communications.
“Equipping the next generation with the skills required for thriving careers in the space industry will be essential to the future of the sector, which is why programmes like Team Athena’s Space Camp are so important both in supporting our Levelling Up agenda, and our ambitions to make the UK a science superpower.”
John Hanley, Senior Vice President Secure and Assured Space Systems at CGI in the UK and Chair of the Space Skills Advisory Panel (SSAP), adds; “The Space Skills Advisory Panel was set-up to bring together major stakeholders in the advancement of vital space skills across the UK. The ambition of the National Space Strategy and the SSAP is to stimulate development of space relevant skills throughout individual’s lives, be that in school, in college or through continuing professional development with the National Space Skills Institute. The inaugural Athena Space Camp embodies these aims by bringing together relevant stakeholders to inspire and educate this vital next generation of talent.”
Athena is committed to harnessing its expertise and global presence to help grow a diverse and resilient space sector in the UK and deliver the growth and development ambitions set out in the National Space Strategy. Students will be given a full range introduction into the space science fields of astronomy, exploration, and satellite applications, to help bridge the gap from GCSE’s to A-levels, with the chance to participate in experiments, extrapolate data and have hands-on interactions with real space-qualified/space-flown hardware.
David Wilkinson, General Manager of the National Space Academy emphasises the need for impactful student experiences; “Since 2008, the Space Academy has been honing its provision of world-class education experiences and teacher development through the exciting medium of space. Extended interventions, such as week-long summer camps, have proven impact and the experience stays with participants, influencing their future education and career choices. In teaming up with Athena, we have the chance to provide this opportunity to schools for free, for a wide range of participants.”
Athena’s members’ expertise as world leaders in providing technology and services across defence, space, communications and information technology to governments, businesses and other organisations, enables them to provide students with a greater familiarity of the career opportunities in both civil and military domains related to space.
Athena, launched in May 2020, was formed to seize development opportunities that new space technologies will offer, driving economic growth for the UK and diversification across the British space sector as Athena succeeds.
Athena is the UK’s national team in space, formed by Serco, Inmarsat, CGI UK and Lockheed Martin UK. The four companies are world leaders in providing technology and services across defence, space, communications and information technology to governments, businesses and other organisations. Together as Athena they offer a new approach to space and innovation for the UK industry.
While continuing to operate as separate companies, Athena will see Serco, Inmarsat, CGI UK and Lockheed Martin UK – already major employers in the UK – develop shared capabilities to meet future demand for space-enabled solutions for business and government customers. This will also aim to boost the UK economy, in partnership with the UK Government’s growing focus on the space sector and its priorities around ‘levelling up’ economic benefits across the country. Unleashing untapped potential in the UK space sector through future export business will deliver further growth and job creation at the four companies’ sites across the country as well as enhanced skills in the UK workforce.
For more information on the Athena companies please see below.
- CGI – a global IT and business consulting services firm delivering mission-critical solutions to space and defence organisations for more than 40 years.
- Inmarsat – a pioneering technology company and the world leader in global, mobile satellite communications.
- Lockheed Martin UK – a global security and aerospace company, principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture, integration and sustainment of advanced technology systems, products and services.
- Serco – trusted to deliver critical support services and operate sensitive facilities by military organisations around the world, with deep expertise in delivering lower-cost, higher quality defence and space services.