Space-themed work experience programme opens to school students

Top scientists and engineers have launched a work experience programme to help develop the UK’s next generation of space innovators.

Year 10, 11 and 12 students living in Leicestershire can apply for a work experience placement featuring practical workshops run by staff from the University of Leicester’s School of Physics and Astronomy, Space Park Leicester and the National Space Centre.

Students will learn about the latest developments around black holes and gravitational waves, discover giant planet auroras using data from the Cassini spacecraft and the Hubble Space Telescope and may even operate the University of Leicester’s Solar telescope during lunchtime observation sessions.

Space Park Leicester Education and Outreach Officer Josh Barker said: “Our work experience programmes run differently to many others that are available to students.

“Rather than following the traditional format of offering one-on-one job shadowing our programmes consist of a series of practical workshops and activities to give students a chance to explore the wide range of work done by the School of Physics and Astronomy.

“We’ll be running a variety of activities, including sessions relating to Science Communication, Planetary Science and Space Mission Logistics.

“It is a fantastic opportunity for young people to take their first steps towards a career in the space industry with some of the UK’s leading experts in the field.”

Other projects that the placements may feature include:

  • Understanding Europa: What instruments can we use to better characterise this mysterious icy moon orbiting Jupiter?
  • Earth observation techniques: What can we learn by looking down on the Earth from space?
  • Mission panels: A chance to debate which missions we should fund in the future.
  • Mercury’s surface: We’re in the planning phase of a Mercury lander, but where should we land?
  • Space weather’s effects on the Earth: How can the Sun cause electricity grids to fail, GPS systems to malfunction, planes to be re-routed and even potentially disrupt animal migration?
  • The hunt for exoplanets: What can we find out about these planets, and how can we characterise them?

Students will also be given advice about applying to university and will have the chance to speak with current physics and astronomy students from the University of Leicester.

The work placement for Year 12 students will be held between Monday, June 24, and Friday, June 28, and the programme for Year 10 and 11 students will take place from Monday, July 1, to Friday, July 5.

Applications for both programmes will close on Friday, March 1.

To apply, visit

For more information about Space Park Leicester, visit or to learn about the University of Leicester, visit


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