An initiative from the South Australian Space Industry Centre (SASIC), South Australian Department for Education and space sector enterprises is helping secondary students interested in STEM (science technology, engineering and mathematics) discover possible careers in the local space industry.
The Space Industry Work Experience Program (SIWE) was developed as part of the Advanced Technology Program (ATP) within the Department of Education, in collaboration with SASIC, to assist meeting future employment goals and contribute to the Australian Space Agency’s target of creating 20,000 new space industry jobs by 2030.
The program is designed to give South Australian secondary school students personal insight into the space industry, an understanding of necessary skills and qualifications needed, and networking opportunities to inspire space-focused STEM careers.
The SIWE program provides students from across the state with an opportunity to participate in activities including work shadowing through to engaging in structured, challenging projects in areas such as engineering, software development, communications and data analysis.
SASIC Director Space, Darin Lovett, said South Australia is the ideal state for students to participate in such an initiative.
“South Australia is firmly established as the centre-of-gravity for space activities in Australia, and this program offers students personal insight into the space industry and the skills and qualifications needed to land a career in space,” said Mr Lovett.
“Through this immersive approach, South Australian space companies participating as host organisations are exposing students to the expansive pathways and space roles available right here in South Australia first-hand, helping develop and inspire our future workforce.”
The paper, Secondary school students exploring careers in the space industry: A South Australian work experience program, co-authored by Flinders University Associate Professor David Curtis, Dr Sarah Baker and Sandra Moran from the Department for Education and Mr Lovett, has documented the design, implementation and outcomes of the work experience program.
Dr Sarah Baker explained the program was a fantastic way to show how much people can do within the sector.
“It’s all about increasing the pool of STEM educated students and informing Australia’s youth about employment opportunities and pathways into the space industry,” said Dr Baker and “I am delighted to continue with the program within my new position as Assistant Principal (Space, STEM and Innovation) at Hamilton Secondary College.”
The Space Industry Work Experience Program exposes students to the types of jobs that are available in the space industry, allows them to gain relevant work experience and skills, and align school studies and subject selection with career aspirations.
Applications for the 2021-22 round of the Space Industry Work Experience Program have now closed with student placements planned for the 2022 April and July school holidays
South Australian space companies or research institutions that can offer students placements exposing them to aspects of the space industry, research and skills are encouraged to join as a host organisation to mentor the talented shortlisted students with host organisation applications open year-round.