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The apprenticeship is a collaboration between the college, the University of Leicester, National Space Centre, in Leicester, and Government.
Matthew Hancock, minister for skills and enterprise, announced the new apprenticeship yesterday at the National Space Centre in front of staff and students from the college.
He said: “Space engineering apprenticeships are a great launch pad for a stratospheric career.
“The space industry is worth £9 billion in the UK and that’s growing rapidly.
“The UK is becoming a bigger player and technology is developing fast. That’s why schemes like this higher apprenticeship are needed to ensure we have the workforce to meet demand.”
The pioneering programme will see students study at the college and space centre, as well as having paid placements with related businesses.
It means students can earn a wage at the same time and come out with a foundation degree at the end of two years, which, with two further years of study, can become a full degree in science or engineering.
The course officially gets under way in September.
Students enrolling on the higher apprenticeship must have an extended diploma in engineering, A-levels in maths and physics, or have industry experience.
The launch follows the success of the 16-plus space engineering course already being run by Loughborough College and gives students the chance to progress to the higher apprenticeship.
Laurie Bootle, 17, is among them. He hopes to go on to the apprenticeship and said: “It’s a huge step towards getting the career I want with robotics in a space context. It will give me the experience I need.”
Dr Martin Killeen, head of technology at Loughborough College, said: “Young people who might traditionally not have had the opportunity to access this sector will now be offered the chance to work in this rapidly-growing industry. Employers will no longer have to rely on graduates and will be able to find enthusiastic and talented staff to develop and meet their specific needs.”