Engaging with Skills Base
There are several different mechanisms to engage with Academia, with the key ones suggested below.
Apprenticeships: The Higher Apprenticeship in Space Engineering, run by Loughborough College, is a unique programme designed to provide the UK Space Engineering industry with highly skilled personnel. The Higher Apprenticeship aims to provide the space engineering sector with high grade, senior technicians who possess practical skills and a higher education qualification.
Internships: Short term work placements for undergraduate students into Businesses. These are often a good way of assessing a student’s capability over a short term basis. These can be advertised. The Satellite Applications Catapult in partnership with University of Reading and UK Space Agency manage an eight week summer internship scheme specifically aimed at space-related positions, Space Intern Network (SpIN).
Undergraduate Courses: Usually a three or four year course, also known as a bachelor’s, undergraduate or first degree. These are dynamic academic environments with lectures and seminars, usually made up of different modules adding up to the full degree. Sandwich courses, enable students to gain experience by working for a year in Industry and then returning to university to complete their degrees.
Masters: These are largely taught courses that tend to be a full time year of study culminating in a research project or dissertation. Industry can engage with students undertaking Masters Courses to provide research project ideas, which are investigated for between 3-6 months resulting in a thesis or report.
PhD Projects: A PhD course is usually based on independent research student that can take up to 5 years to complete. Some Doctorates programmes include taught components, however accreditation is nearly always through this independent research project. UK Research Councils provide funding directly to Universities through Doctoral Training Grants, Centres for Doctoral Training or Doctoral Training Partnerships. Industry can engage with PhD students through these Centres by providing a hypothesis or project idea for research, mentoring the student, providing placement opportunities in business and providing “top-up” funding to direct the nature of the research.
Professional Development: Short Courses
Many Universities offer open short courses aimed at companies to help plug gaps in their capability and for professional career development. Courses vary in duration, typically between half a day and a few weeks in length and can be tailored to suit the company’s needs.
Universities often have state-of-the-art research and testing facilities and equipment. They can be made available to business to access for one-off analysis to longer term research and development, and costs are calculated on a bespoke basis.