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South Australia has taken another important step in its mission to launch more space careers.

The Playford Trust and the Andy Thomas Space Foundation will partner to provide four $5000 scholarships for high-achieving school leavers hoping to study aerospace engineering at the University of Adelaide next year.

“Our role is to help advance a range of new areas of growth for South Australia – and space is right near the top of the list,” said Playford Trust Chair, former Premier Dean Brown.

Established in July last year, the Andy Thomas Foundation works to develop space as a platform for innovation and economic growth, support education and training from primary to tertiary levels, and generate career opportunities.

Foundation Chair, Michael Davis AO, said this group of scholarships was one of seven educational initiatives, valued at over $200,000, launched by the Foundation in its first 12 months. “These projects are for students and researchers at all levels – from primary school to post-doctoral. We particularly welcome this collaboration with the Playford Trust in South Australia.”

The Foundation’s CEO, Nicola Sasanelli AM, said: “The Australian space industry is experiencing unprecedented growth, fuelled by substantial public and private investment. However, this has highlighted a worrying skills gap, both in Australia and internationally.

“Aerospace engineers design and launch aircraft and equipment for the exploration of our solar system and beyond—and their career prospects are almost as endless.

“With these new scholarships, in particular, we would be keen to support indigenous Australians, female students and those from rural or regional areas.”

Dean Brown said the Playford Trust was seeking like-minded partners to help it advance other areas of growth, such as preparing for the hydrogen economy, maximising the potential of the food industry’s capabilities, and automation and machine learning.

“This year the Trust and its partners are providing more than $700,000 to help students study everything from land management, aquaculture and molecular biology to robotics, renewable energy and mechatronics,” he said.

“In short, we help feed critical pipelines of talent and expertise.”

Applications for scholarships are expected to open in September. Watch this space!