press release
Published: 24 June 2024

Hands-on space engineering for college students, thanks to new University of Surrey programme

A-level students at Alton College have been programming Mars Rovers and testing the systems on satellites as part of a new scheme at the University of Surrey. 

The SpaceCraft training course gives 16-18 year olds the skills and inspiration needed to forge a career in space engineering. It aims to address the shortage of STEM skills needed to keep the the region’s booming space sector growing into the future. 

It’s been really interesting. In the morning, we’ve had lectures about various parts of spacecraft, and in the afternoon, we’ve been doing practical work.

I had an interest in STEM subjects beforehand, but this has really opened my eyes to what it’s all about, and given an insight into how the industry works.
Jacob, Student, Alton College
portrait of jacob

The SpaceCraft programme is funded by the UK Space Agency and the University of Surrey. It gives local companies, universities and students access to Surrey’s research facilities, engineers and training courses.  

As part of that offer, the University has teamed up with Alton College to offer this university-level module to A-level and T-level students. It is hoped that the scheme can develop STEM skills in the region – which is becoming a hub for space and satellite technology.  

From September, Alton College students will be able to study a new Space Technologies programme, delivered in partnership with SpaceCraft. 

The University has been at the heart of the region’s space sector for nearly 50 years. By 2020, the space sector in Surrey and Hampshire was made up of 120 organisations with a combined turnover of over £3bn in 2020.  

It has been really exciting developing this partnership and seeing our students engage with it. This course has shown our STEM students how their scientific and mathematical knowledge can be applied in the real world.

They are getting hands on experience of working with technology that is used in the space industry. It's widened their horizons as to where they can go with the subjects they are studying, and it’s made the staff involved want to go back and study again, too!
Rups Whybrow, STEM Lead, Alton College
portrait rups whybrow

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