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BAE and Portsmouth Uni launch UK’s first ever space degree apprenticeship

The Business Magazine article image for: BAE and Portsmouth Uni launch UK’s first ever space degree apprenticeship
8 February 2024

The University of Portsmouth is set to offer the UK’s first ever degree apprenticeship for space systems engineers in conjunction with Hampshire-based BAE Systems.

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

They’ll also be given the opportunity to get involved in BAE projects like Azalea, which is due to launch its first multi-sensor low earth orbit satellite cluster in 2025 and deliver real-time intelligence to military clients.

At the same time, the apprentices will undertake a four-and-a-half-year bachelor’s degree at Portsmouth, where they’ll pick up skills in computer aided design (CAD), telecommunication systems, space science, space mission design and materials and manufacture.

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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.”

Arriving during National Apprenticeship Week, the new course has been designed alongside an advisory group comprising government representatives, space sector leaders and members of the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education.

Professor Djamel Ait-Boudaoud, executive dean for the Faculty of Technology at The University of Portsmouth, added: “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.

“The University of Portsmouth has identified space technology as a strategic priority for the future and we’re passionate about driving forward space initiatives – building on the successes of our world-leading astrophysics and cosmology research and our expertise in the use of satellite data for solving global challenges.”

Meanwhile, BAE Systems is set for a record-breaking recruitment drive this year as the company opens up 2,700 new apprentice and graduate opportunities across the UK.

Read more - University of Portsmouth puts £272k behind new degree apprenticeships


Born and raised in Berkshire, Dan fell into journalism after completing his bachelor’s degree in English at UCL.

Writing for The Business Magazine and local Biz News sites has given him the opportunity to chat with all manner of small business owners and share their success stories with a wider audience.

Outside of work, Dan enjoys live music, board games and quiz shows, and is making a slow but persistent effort to learn Spanish.

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