Developing tomorrow’s space pioneers

We regularly take the opportunity to support initiatives promoting science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) education, both in the UK and internationally. That way, Inmarsat and other pioneering science and technology industries can continue to tap into a qualified pool of talent.

Read how one of our most respected engineers, Mark Dickinson, Vice President, Satellite Operations, became inspired by space.

World Space Week sponsorship

World Space Week 2016 posterInmarsat supports UN-backed World Space Week (WSW), the annual celebration of science and technology. WSW brings together space agencies and organisations with schools, planetaria, museums and astronomy clubs for a wealth of educational and outreach activities to promote career opportunities in the space industry.

World Space Week 2016 focused on the importance of satellite-powered remote sensing in securing our planet’s future.

From 4-10 October, over 1,800 events all over the world told a largely young audience the story of Earth observation from space, including such classic programmes as the joint U.S. Geological Survey and NASA Landsat mission, which has been taking images of the Earth since 1972, and the Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS), which shares environmental data captured all over the planet.

The theme reflected Inmarsat’s focus on developing innovative satellite-enabled applications to power the Internet of Things (IoT), such as remote tracking of livestock, as detailed in this blog by Philip Meyers, Head of Innovation for Inmarsat Enterprise.

In previous years, World Space Week has highlighted our era of deep space discovery, and celebrated the crucial satellite communications and navigation systems that guide people and pinpoint places. By demonstrating how space-enabled technology and communications has an impact here on earth for individuals as well as businesses, we hope to inspire a future generation to study and take up careers in STEM.

City and Islington College partnership

Encouraging young people to acquire STEM knowledge and skills is crucial to the UK maintaining its position in an increasingly scientific and technological world.

“The government has made it crystal clear that STEM education represents the future of the UK economy and that everyone should play their part,” says James Cemmell, Head of Government Affairs at Inmarsat.

Eleven STEM students from City and Islington College’s Sixth Form College and Centre for Applied Sciences were accepted for the first Inmarsat Summer Strategy Challenge in 2014, considering the future of aviation connectivity.

The six-week programme included weekly workshops at our City Road headquarters in London, nearby the college, which enabled students to gain invaluable knowledge from our experts and research their ideas. Black box streaming, greater data capabilities, increased fuel efficiency and more socially connected flights were just some of the ideas they developed.

Taking part in the challenge helped several students gain places in top tier universities, including Emmanuel Egbuniwe who went on to study a BEng in Biomedical Engineering at University College London (UCL).

The 2015 Inmarsat Summer Strategy Challenge saw a new group of students address the issue of the digital divide in less developed parts of the world, and in 2016, students were asked to consider how satcoms could help tackle what has been described as the biggest environment crime of the 21st Century – the Indonesian haze.

International Space University scholarships

Isu-logo_214x120Inmarsat is funding two scholarships for the International Space University Master of Space Studies (MSS) programme.

The first students to benefit were Mansoor Shar, from London, and Ahmed Abdi from The Netherlands, who started the course at the university in Strasbourg, France in September 2014. Both looked at specific ideas for Inmarsat as part of their studies.

The MSS programme is aimed at students passionate about a career in the space sector, as well as professionals and researchers looking to move into the industry.

Mansoor, who has a degree in computer science, had been working in finance until he decided to follow his childhood dream. Ahmed started the course immediately after finishing his Aerospace Engineering, Astronautics and Space Technology BEng degree at Kingston University, London.

“This is an excellent opportunity to add fresh thinking to our business while supporting a research institution. I am confident that innovative ideas will result from this cooperation with the ISU,” said Ruy Pinto, Inmarsat Group Chief Operations Officer.

Improving education in South Africa

Inmarsat is supporting a business and education partnership that aims to significantly improve schooling for all children in South Africa. Partners for Possibility (PfP) is addressing the education crisis in the country, which was ranked 138th out of 140 in the World Economic Forum Global Competitive Report 2015/16 for the quality of its education system, and came bottom for maths and science teaching.

The programme partners school principals with business leaders on a one-to-one basis to promote leadership development. The partners work together for 12 months to design an improvement plan for their school and get teachers, students, parents and the local community involved.

PfP’s ambitious goal is  to enable all South African children to receive a quality education by 2025. Inmarsat is sponsoring four PfP partnerships at schools in Cape Town.

Gordon McMillan, Inmarsat Global Government Business Development Director for Africa and the Middle East, who is based in Cape Town, is involved in the programme. He has been partnered with Greg Andries, Principal of Vissershok Primary School, which serves an under-privileged farm-working community.

Inmarsat Chief Corporate Affairs Officer & Company Secretary Alison Horrocks (pictured above) visited the school and heard Greg describe some of the challenges he faces, ranging from too much time spent on paperwork to trying to encourage parental involvement when the vast majority live in the informal settlement four miles away, which is poorly served by public transport.

He praised the PfP programme and the benefits of having a thinking partner outside the education system, which has resulted in a more structured and focused school improvement plan, increased self-confidence for Greg himself, and improved motivation of teachers.

Inmarsat Technology Development Programme

Inmarsat-City-Road_300x200Inmarsat is investing in the careers of future engineers by offering newly qualified STEM-based graduates a platform to develop a career in satellite communications.

The Technology Development Programme, introduced in 2015, is a unique two-year tailored work placement scheme, with the offer of a job at Inmarsat on completion.

Successful applicants are given an amazing opportunity to contribute to real space engineering programmes and establish themselves alongside some of the leading engineers in the field of satellite communications.

The scheme is open to graduates with a STEM-based degree, such as Computer Science, Engineering (Aeronautical, Electrical or Mechanical), Physics, Mathematics or Technology.

“We are growing all the time and we need engineers and analysts to add to our expansion. The programme is sponsored by our Chief Technology Officer and key technology players.  This initiative has been launched to ensure we have the strongest engineering talent pool, now and in the future,” said Kate Roddy, Lead HR Business Partner.

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