Teachers from across Northern Ireland have come together to learn how to build and launch their own rockets. It’s all part of an initiative deriving from a new ‘Space Science Technology’ qualification developed by local exams body, the Council for the Curriculum, Examinations and Assessment (CCEA).

 

A career in the space industry could mean you create a payload for NASA's new Space Launch System. (Image credit: NASA)

A career in the space industry could mean one day you could create a payload for NASA’s new Space Launch System. (Image credit: NASA)

 

According to recent government figures, the UK space industry contributes £9bn to the economy each year and supports tens of thousands of jobs.  Working closely  with Invest Northern Ireland, Aerospace, Defence and Security Industries NI, CCEA has developed a new Level 2 Space Science Technology qualification to give learners aged 14-16 the necessary skills and expertise needed in Northern Ireland’s growing space industry.

On 16 January 2014 teachers and representatives from key industries and endorsers of the new qualification, including Invest NI, Bombardier Aerospace, Armagh Planetarium and ADS Group Ltd, all had the opportunity to find out just how exciting the world of space science can be, by taking part in the task of building and launching their own rockets under the careful eye of an expert trainer from UK-based organisation Space Connection Enterprises.

 

Eleanore Thomas, Education Manager, CCEA David McGaw, Teacher, Victoria College Andy Willis, Space Connection Enterprises (Trainer) Roy Sterritt, University of Ulster Dr Stephen Roulston, University of Ulster (and Principal Moderator for the SST qualification) Matthew Fields, Teacher from Rainey Endowed (Image credit: Joanne Schofield /CCEA)

Eleanore Thomas, Education Manager, CCEA
David McGaw, Teacher, Victoria College
Andy Willis, Space Connection Enterprises (Trainer)
Roy Sterritt, University of Ulster
Dr Stephen Roulston, University of Ulster (and Principal Moderator for the SST qualification)
Matthew Fields, Teacher from Rainey Endowed (Image credit: Joanne Schofield /CCEA)

 

Richard Hanna, CCEA’s Chief Executive commented:

“CCEA in partnership with Invest NI was delighted to host this training event for teachers in support of our new level two qualification in Space Science Technology.  This event was a fantastic opportunity for teachers to develop an exciting new approach to delivering STEM to their students.  The keen interest and support expressed by key industry contributors on the day, further raised awareness of potential career opportunities in the NI Aerospace Industry.”

Dr Leslie Orr, Manager of ADS Northern Ireland said:

“We want to grow the space industry in Northern Ireland. To do this we need to develop the skills and interest in the sector. The timing of this qualification is right”

On speaking about the relevance to this new qualification to the Northern Ireland industry, Kevin McCann, Invest NI Director Advanced Engineering and Construction said:

“Invest NI believes that Northern Ireland must fully exploit the opportunities from the significant growth of the Space Sector. The development of key skills and understanding of the Space Sector at an early stage is critical to this.

“The Space Science Technology qualification will generate interest in, and encourage students to consider, the Space Sector as a career opportunity.”

(Article by Joanne Schofield, Northern Ireland Council for the Curriculum, Examinations and Assessment)


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