YOUNG people from schools across the North East are discovering the very real job prospects in the space industry as a major event got underway in Newcastle today (Monday 24 October).

And according to Nik Smith, Regional Director of UK & Europe, Lockheed Martin Space, who opened the five day event, the area is perfectly placed for today’s school pupils to take up this career path.

“There is a lot of stuff going on in the space sector,” said Nik, talking to Year 6 and Year 12 pupils on the opening day of a five day Space Camp held at The Catalyst at Newcastle University.

“And that’s not just in the UK but in this region as well.

“In ten years there are going to be jobs for people to work on the moon and even more jobs for people supporting those who are working on the moon.

“It may seem hard to believe but there really are lots of opportunity for people in the North East to become part of this.”

The event – which runs until Friday – has been organised by Athena, the UK’s national team in space, formed by Lockheed Martin UK, CGI, Inmarsat and Serco.

The youngsters – from schools across Newcastle, Sunderland and Northumberland – will be spending the week not only listening to inspirational speaker from the National Space Academy, Lockheed Martin and the Ministry of Defence but will also get the opportunity to take part in a range of hands-on workshops.

On the opening day the Year 6 pupils were challenged to create a rocket which was then launched to see who could get closest to the “moon.”

“What we are trying to get young people to realise is there are so many different kinds of jobs in the space industry,” said Nik.

“It’s not just about the people who are astrophysicists, it’s people who can analyse the data that we get back from space, it’s about people who are interested in engineering, it’s about a whole host of subjects.

“For a long time in the UK we’ve thought that space was something that other countries do but we have a really vibrant and fast growing sector.

“It may be that these young people decide they don’t want to go into the space industry and that’s fine, but what we’re want to do is also interest them in STEM generally so they can see the potential.”

More than 60 young people are taking part in the event across the week and are all excited about the event.

Freya Sloanes, an 11-year-old from South Hylton Primary School, Sunderland, said she had been looking forward to taking part.

“I am really interested in space and this is brilliant to be able to find out what jobs I might be able to do,” she said.

“I think it’s going to be a great week.”

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