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Space exploration needs employee diversity


Jenny Body OBE, FRAeS, FCGI, DEng (hc), HonDSc

Chair of Education and Skills Committee, Royal Aeronautical Society

The UK boasts the world’s second biggest aerospace and aviation industry, and technology is opening up the aeronautics industry like never before. To keep pace, the workforce needs diverse people and skill sets.

“A hybrid plane is currently being developed and we’ve got an explosion of activity in space exploration and satellite technology. It’s so exciting,” says Jenny Body, Chair of the Education and Skills Committee at the Royal Aeronautical Society.

There is even the prospect of unmanned vehicles taking to our skies.

It’s not just the big players that are making waves in aeronautics either. Advances in artificial intelligence (AI) and the digital revolution have opened up the market place like never before.

With pressure mounting to produce cleaner, more sustainable aircraft, and the prospect of unmanned vehicles taking to our skies – the opportunities for new entrants has never been greater.

Project management and creative skills are sought after in aeronautics

While the industry is accelerating at an unprecedented rate, there are a few myths that Body believes are holding it back. “We are facing completely new challenges and we need to encourage greater diversity and breadth of ideas. It’s certainly not an industry just for white, middle class boys,” says Body.

Stereotypes and myths are still holding the industry back.

In face of these new challenges, the industry doesn’t just need technicians either; those who can manage projects and inspire creativity are just as important.

We are seeing people with valuable experience and skills from other sectors moving into aerospace and similarly the skills developed in aerospace are very transferable.

Things have come a long way since the first supersonic aircraft was developed barely 50 years ago. With the current pace of innovation, who knows where the next 50 will take us.

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