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Issues in Educational Research, 2021, Vol 31(2), 348-370.
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Secondary school students exploring careers in the space industry: A South Australian work experience program

Sarah J. Baker, Sandra Moran
South Australian Department for Education

Darin Lovett
South Australian Space Industry Centre

David D. Curtis
Flinders University, Australia

We describe a space industry work experience program and report on the design, implementation, and evaluation of this program, including its purposes, organisation, participants - hosts and students - and its outcomes. The program was a collaboration between the South Australian Department for Education, the South Australian Space Industry Centre, universities, and space sector enterprises. We found that the program was in-demand among students, although places at this stage are quite limited. It was well-received by participating industry partners, all of whom indicated an intention to continue their involvement in the program. Student placements were designed to be immersive, but the extent of this varied between what might be described as work-shadowing through to structured and challenging project work. The most challenging and structured placements were highly valued by students and were more effective for informing an academic stream of student participants about the range of space industry careers currently available. Implications for future work experience placements are drawn for the organisation and structure of placement programs.
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Authors: Dr Sarah J. Baker has worked in Australian Universities and has a PhD in molecular biology. She retrained as a teacher and has a strong interest in linking industry and curriculum to increase opportunities for secondary students, particularly aligned with emerging technologies. Sarah is currently leading a Commonwealth School Pathways Program for SA in the Department for Education.
Web: https://www.linkedin.com/in/sarah-j-baker/
Email: sarah.baker@sa.gov.au

Sandra Moran Sandra has worked in the South Australian Department for Education for over 30 years. She has a strong cross-curriculum background in a diverse range of portfolios as a school leader, principal and in corporate education. She has a strong interest in the capabilities, flexible learning options, advanced technologies and their links to student achievement and pathways.
Email: sandra.moran726@schools.sa.edu.au

Darin Lovett is Director, Space at the South Australian Space Industry Centre. His mission is to build a thriving and sustainable space industry for South Australia. His experience in strategy and capability development for the Air and Space domains is now being applied to build the space workforce needed for the future.
Email: darin.lovett@sa.gov.au
Web: https://au.linkedin.com/in/darinlovett; https://sasic.sa.gov.au/

Dr David D. Curtis is an adjunct associate professor of education at Flinders University and director of Transforming Education. He has worked in Australian universities and research agencies and has a particular interest in youth transitions from school to further education and training and to the workforce. He has a strong interest in the development and assessment of general capabilities. He is the author of 50 refereed papers and book chapters and of numerous commissioned reports for a variety of government agencies and non-government organisations.
Email: david.curtis@flinders.edu.au
Web: https://www.flinders.edu.au/people/david.curtis

Please cite as: Baker, S. J., Moran, S., Lovett, D. & Curtis, D. D. (2021). Secondary school students exploring careers in the space industry: A South Australian work experience program. Issues in Educational Research, 31(2), 348-370. http://www.iier.org.au/iier31/baker.pdf

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Created 19 June 2021. Last correction: 19 June 2021. Website: Roger Atkinson [rjatkinson@bigpond.com]