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RAF Air Cadets Instructors upskill at Space Park Leicester

RAF Air Cadet volunteer instructors

A team of RAF Air Cadets volunteer instructors “transformed” their astronomical knowledge at a training masterclass at Space Park Leicester.

The National Space Academy used the pioneering Midlands-based facility to deliver an in-depth training course on the RAF Air Cadets Space Syllabus to 18 “budding space instructors”.

The Space Syllabus was launched in tandem with the Open University in 2019. It puts the Air Cadets into orbit in terms of understanding satellites, rocketry, the solar system and space exploration.

Professor Anu Ojha and Sophie Allan from the National Space Academy delivered the training at the £100 million state-of-the art facility last month.

Professor Ojha said: “The outstanding facilities at Space Park Leicester allowed us to provide a highly regarded training masterclass to 18 budding space instructors looking to transform their knowledge on astronomy.

“The course is designed to enable the volunteers to cascade their training throughout the organisation, giving every Air Cadet the opportunity to engage with space.”

The RAF Air Cadets is already a world leader in terms of teaching cadets aviation related courses and was one of the first youth organisations to teach cyber including ethical hacking.

With increased interest in space operations, technology and exploration, the RAF Air Cadets probably has the best programme of any youth organisation in the UK or the world to produce future astronauts.

With Space regarded as one of the three central pillars of the RAF, the course has strengthened the volunteer’s astronomical knowledge, enabling them to educate Air Cadets on the topic.

Professor Ojha added: “Space Park Leicester showcases the UK’s innovative and ground-breaking space industry, so it was great to host our astronomical training masterclass in the renowned research hub.”

Professor Nigel Bannister, Director of Skills and Training Development at Space Park Leicester, said: “The National Space Academy has been an important partner in Space Park Leicester from the very earliest days of Space Park’s development.

“This event demonstrates the power of that partnership in delivering the space kills and knowledge to underpin the UK’s commercial, scientific and defence space activities. We are proud to be able to host the National Space Academy in this important facility.”

He added: “This training has provided the volunteer instructors with all the space knowledge they need to teach RAF Air Cadets across the whole of the United Kingdom.”  

The RAF Air Cadets has always produced potential pilots and other aerospace roles for industry and for the military, although it is not a recruiting organisation for either.

Space Park Leicester has been designed to support increased collaboration between University of Leicester researchers and educators and the private sector, creating high quality knowledge-based jobs, building the skills base through training, and contributing to economic growth and resilience of the economy. The project is led by the University of Leicester in partnership with Leicester City Council and the Leicester and Leicestershire Enterprise Partnership (LLEP).

Joss Whalvin, Sarah Sturgeon and Alex Cairns