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UK MUST BE READY FOR THE NEEDS OF THE SPACE INDUSTRY, SAYS EXPERT

ByDave Stopher

Feb 26, 2024

A member of one of the UK’s leading space companies has highlighted the infinite job prospects that will be on offer in the future.

Grant Lewis is a project manager with Lockheed Martin, which is at the forefront of developing the country’s space capabilities and helping to build a space-based economy.

Having been with Lockheed Martin for 20 years and working in the space sector for the past five, Grant has been flagging up the importance of balanced and collaborative thinking – and ensuring that there are enough skilled people to meet the potential demand.

Grant participated in a panel discussion on Strengthening the UK capability base to prepare for a larger space economy at the recent UK Space Suppliers Summit in Glasgow.

And he believes at the heart of future growth is ensuring that there is a “building of resource pipelines and plugging of SQEP (suitably qualified and experiences personnel) gaps.

“It’s very important that we feed the future pool of skills,” said Grant.

“And that the talent pool is growing at the same pace as the industry.”

The industry expert also highlighted the fact that many people working in different industries have transferrable skills which can easily be adapted to work in the space industry.

“Being a rocket scientist isn’t a prerequisite to work in the industry,” said Grant.

“The industry is going to need accountants, engineers, projects managers and people with commercial expertise in the future – these are all transferable skills, which could be adapted to work in the space sector.”

Grant also believes that the UK’s future success in the space industry is also dependent on collaboration.

“There are multiple space organisations around the country, all working with common underlying themes but who need to make sure their offers align appropriately so we can make the most of the opportunities that exist,” he said.

The need for international collaboration was also highlighted by Grant, who believes that an important part of the UK’s growth strategy is “to create a balance to ensure that the market is not just restricted to UK suppliers in the long term.”

“If we tap into the benefits of international collaboration and the import/export potential, that can also provide additional commercial growth, as well as supporting the skills debate,” he said.

Lockheed Martin is at the forefront of the fast-growing UK space industry, working with multiple organisations and partners to help drive a number of important projects.

This includes supporting the Government’s Space Defence Strategy and developing NESST – North East Space Skills and Technology Centre – in the heart of the North East in conjunction with the University of Northumbria, where world leading space experts will collaborate with both industry and education to ensure students have the necessary skills that will be required for this high growth sector.