According to research, Australia’s space industry is set to triple its revenues in the next eight years, increasing to a worth of $12 billion.
In light of this development, one expert is set on preparing the country for a space revolution, and he’s working with the help of the Winston Churchill Trust.
For almost 60 years, the Winston Churchill Trust has been committed to sending incredible Australians around the world to pursue their industry passions and bring the knowledge home to be implemented in Australia. The fellows are selected from every sector including art, science, health, agriculture, and more.
This year, Dr Scott Sleap has been awarded the Churchill Fellowship for his dedication to expanding STEM education in Australia, particularly for regional and rural students. And his work doesn’t stop there. After helping to develop an interest in science around the country, Scott has his eyes on the stars.
“The space industry will be worth $1 trillion by 2040 and Australia had the opportunity to be a key player, but we need to ensure we have the workforce,” says Scott.
“I’ve been involved in workforce development for a long time with the purpose of building the workforce of the future. Australia has one of the fastest growing space industries in the world and we need an extra 20,000 jobs in this area. This is my mission, and I’ve already created new curriculum courses for aerospace and cyber security. This is about taking the next steps.”
But, how exactly do we go about expanding this sector? And what will Scott’s research include?
Sleap’s next steps
Dr Scott Sleap plans to travel across the US over six weeks, engaging in discussions with space experts from NASA and top tier university professors. He will also be attending an international space exploration conference in Texas. Overall, he hopes to construct a plan to be followed by the Australian Space Agency and nation-wide education organisations to enhance the STEM space outreach.
“We want people to get enthusiastic and involved, but how can that happen if they aren’t aware of the opportunities? We need the whole community, from students to teachers and parents, to get excited and we want what we are doing to have an impact around the entire country.”
And Scott is already engaging with the next generation, working closely with schools across the country to teach them about the exciting opportunities in space. Head Science Teacher at East Hills Girls Technology High, Heidi Hammond, says the programs designed by Scott have already increased student engagement with STEM, and developed their interest in space and science.
“Traditionally schools see girls shy away from the STEM subjects, but the incredible work Scott is pioneering ensures these subjects are all encompassing. The iSTEM, and Future Space content is extremely engaging, and I’ve seen the excited response of my students. It has been life changing for them.”
According to one student, Adn Ali, the engagement with all things space has been a particular highlight, and is creating a passionate learning environment in her classroom.
“One of our most memorable events was the Astronaut visit. Dr Mary Ellen Webber came from NASA in the US to talk about her experiences on the International Space Station.”
Thanks to the Churchill Fellowship, Scott will be able to develop his own understanding of this booming industry, translating the information to schools and space researchers across the country. With the industry only continuing to grow, this could offer incredible opportunities for all of Australia.
To learn more about space research and technology, click here.