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Space industry training on offer as Rocket Lab launches apprenticeship scheme

The eagle has landed on a new career path for Kiwis as Rocket Lab launches their aerospace apprenticeship, offering hands-on experience in New Zealand’s $1.7 billion space industry.

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The company is offering New Zealand’s first aerospace engineering qualification. Source: Seven Sharp

A New Zealand-first, trainees will learn the specialist skills required to assemble rockets and work on the company's famed electron launch vehicles.

Rocket Lab’s Aerospace Apprenticeship programme will be initially offered to those in the aviation industry but if the qualification takes off, the company will look at opening it up to high school leavers in 2021.

Rocket Lab's Director of Production Jamie France says although the company has recruited from a number of different sectors, such as the automotive and aviation industries, it was time to recognise the talents of those in precision assembly and high attention to detail by giving them a ”qualification they could work towards”.

He told TVNZ1's Seven Sharp it would take someone starting out about two to three years to ”work their way through the qualification”.

“We are effectively paying an employee to earn their qualification while they are assembling a spaceship,” Mr France says.

With Rocket Lab’s Electron being the fourth-most launched vehicle in the world last year for rockets that “get to space,” he says as director of production “we’d like to think we are pretty busy here”.

“This is bigger than just Rocket Lab, there are plenty of jobs out there.”