UK’s first ever degree apprenticeship in Space Systems Engineering has launched

In a first for the UK, BAE Systems and Portsmouth University have announced a degree apprenticeships in Space Systems Engineering.

BAE Systems

Apprentices will learn on-the-job skills at BAE Systems sites in Alton and Guildford, including system and mission analysis, software development, attitude and orbit control systems (AOCS) and electronics.

BAE said the first intake of space degree apprenticeships will be part of projects such as Azalea, which is due to launch its first multi-sensor low earth orbit satellite cluster in 2025 to deliver intelligence in real-time to military customers.

At Portsmouth University, the apprentices will undertake a Bachelor of Engineering in Space Systems Engineering. This four and half year course is designed to provide them with the latest skills in computer-aided design, telecommunication systems, space science, space mission design and materials and manufacturing.

The partners said the creation of this academic qualification highlights the growth of the UK space sector and how industry and academia are stepping up to provide training in this field.

The programme has been influenced and designed with insight from an advisory group comprised of government representatives, space sector leaders and the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education.

In a statement, Doug Liddle, director of space at BAE Systems’ digital intelligence business, said: “The launch of the UK’s first space degree apprenticeship is a vital step to attract the next generation of talent into our growing space sector.

“The skills gap faced today poses a significant challenge to the future of the sector. So it’s critical that we encourage and invest in future space engineers to support the UK‘s ambition to become a space science and technology superpower and ensure we stay ahead in the New Space Age. The sky is no longer the limit.”

BAE said they are set to have approximately 2,700 new apprentice and graduate opportunities available to young people across the UK in 2024, with over 60 programmes available including in steelwork and electrical engineering, cyber security, software development, human resources and project management.

Professor Djamel Ait-Boudaoud, executive Dean for the faculty of technology at Portsmouth University, said: “In the midst of the UK's expansion and ambition within the space sector, addressing the critical challenge of a skills shortage is paramount to realising our national aspirations. Collaboration between educational institutions and industry is essential to meet both national and regional skill demands.”

Applications are now open for the first intake of space degree apprentices, closing on 28 February, 2024. More information can be found here.