New Space Workforce initiative takes flight

The New Space Workforce initiatives connect Australia’s vibrant space industry and space research community with students and teachers, as part of a suite of activities aiming to adopt a “whole-of-government” approach to ensure our future workforce is capable of supporting the 1.2 million jobs required in the tech industry worldwide.

Feature image: Young Space Explorers – The team from the Monash Nova Rover working with students to produce mini rovers.

On Friday 2nd December over 500, students, teachers, space industry experts, universities and government employees converged on Sydney to help build the future space workforce. The majority of schools were from region and rural NSW schools.

Led by UNSW Canberra SpaceNSW Department of Education (SISP and RIEP) and the NSW Space Research Network with support from the Lockheed Martin Australia Pty Ltd and Australian Space Agency, the New Space Workforce initiative included a series of interconnected events:

  1. Young Space Explorers – An immersive dive into the emerging Australian space industry. Over 250 students from Year 9 and 10 met with experts at the space expo and through hands-on challenges they developed knowledge of STEM.
  2. Inter-Agency Workshop – This stakeholder sessions included over 50 national and state leaders in space industry development. The workshop concluded with an agreement to develop practical and achievable solutions for workforce development and the establishment of a working group.
  3. The Great Space Pitch – Four finalist from the Australian Virtual Astronaut Challenge, presented their ideas in front of an esteemed panel of judges, including Joel Connolly BlackbirdPhilip Citowicki – Lockheed Martin, Julia Dickinson – Lockheed Martin, Ted Tagami – User Advisory Committee – Education Chair International Space Station U.S. National Laboratory and Russell Boyce – Chair for Intelligent Space Systems, Director, UNSW Canberra Space.
  4. Space Industry/Education Networking – In the evening over 100 people from Australia’s vibrant space industry, government and the space research ecosystem met with leaders in the space education community.
Young Space Explorers – Aude Vignelles, Chief Technology Officer and General Manager from the Australian Space Agency address students about the future of the Australian Space Industry

Thanks to all those who were involved in the space expo; PowerhouseUniversity of SydneyUniversity of NewcastleUniversity of WollongongMacquarie UniversityLockheed Martin Australia Pty LtdBluesat UNSWOptus Satellite and Space SystemsMakers EmpireThe Andy Thomas Space Foundation, Australian Centre for AstrobiologyHastings Secondary College – Port Macquarie Campus.

Thanks to those who ran workshops; UNSW Canberra SpaceUNSWMonash Nova RoverSTEM PunksFizzics EducationUniversity of WollongongNominal Systems, University of Newcastle, Australian Centre for Astrobiology.

Thanks to Aude VignellesBen Newsome CF FRSAJillian WilliamsDavid R ReynoldsMatt BoldChloe ChangJulia DickinsonChristina Houghton, and Anntonette Dailey.

Guest post by Dr Scott Sleap STEM Project Advisor 7 – 12 | Curriculum Secondary Learners | Curriculum and Reform Directorate and STEM Industry School Partnerships (SISP) Program