BBC Today programme highlights Loughborough College

Loughborough College Space student Nigel Grainger has been talking to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme about his plans for the future 

One of the first ever students to complete the country’s only post-16 Space Engineering course, Nigel was recently honoured  with the Professor George Fraser Award for Academic Achievement and this morning featured on the programme with business correspondent Joe Lynam, talking about his choice to take an apprenticeship rather than a University route into the industry.

“I don’t want to just sit in a classroom. I want to be using my knowledge and learning new skills on the job. Not building up a debt and earning money while I do it is obviously a bonus.”

After deciding that rather than go to University alone, he wanted to go in a more ‘hands on’ direction Nigel won a coveted position with top aerospace company Airbus.

Nigel told Loughborough College: “Because the Space Engineering course combines A-levels in Maths and Physics with BTEC Engineering taught in a space context you get a combination of academic and practical skills which open so many doors.

“I was thrilled when I found out Airbus were offering me a place on their Undergraduate Apprenticeship.

“It’s a mix of workplace experience and study over four years, with a salary, which also gives me a University degree at the end of it.”

Launched by Loughborough College in association with the National Space Academy in 2012, the two-year Space Engineering course has seen students enjoy a host of high-profile experiences including a message from Professor Brian Cox, a Parliamentary Space Committee reception at the House of Commons, meetings with Government ministers and even with astronaut and You Tube star Colonel Chris Hadfield.

The pioneering group have amongst them received more than 20 offers from top Universities with one student securing a place with the University of South Florida to study for a Masters degree in Physics with Maths and Engineering on a full scholarship.

Dr Martin Killeen, Head of Technology at Loughborough College, added: “Our post-16 Space Engineering course and our newly-launched 18+ Higher Apprenticeship in Space Engineering – which offers work-based, degree-level training developed with the National Space Academy, the University of Leicester and the space sector – are creating brand new pathways into an exciting and rapidly-expanding industry.

“The space industry is due to grow fourfold and be worth £40 billion in less than two decades and already employs around 30,000, contributing over £9 billion to the nation’s economy.”