Students countdown to space rocket project launch

UTC Leeds students are counting down to the launch of an innovative rocket-inspired educational event supported by world leading space scientists.

Rockets Week will be held at UTC Leeds on Sayner Road in Hunslet from 27 November to  1 December 2017, and bring space rocket, technology and engineering experts to the students for a series of talks and hands-on workshops. Students will explore the dark side of the universe, solar telescopes, the anatomy of a star, how to get a rocket into space and the physics of Santa, and take part in propulsion, space vehicle design and Mars Rover workshops.

Students at UTC Leeds. Photo: Mark Harvey

Space exploration, and science, technology, engineering and maths experts are attending the event from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), International Space University (ISU) and CERN, the European Organisation for Nuclear Research. During the week, Dewsbury-born Tim Gregory, who recently took part in BBC Two’s Astronauts: Do You Have What It Takes? will talk to students about his experiences, current PhD work and career ambitions. Representatives from the Association for Retired European Space Agency Staff (ARES) and academic experts from Durham, Hull, Leeds, Leicester, Sheffield and York universities will also take part.

Mark Kennedy, Principal, UTC Leeds, said:

“Our students learn how to apply academic theory to solving technical problems in the real world. This exciting new initiative that we’ve put together will provide a fascinating insight into the contribution that science and engineering makes to our lives from those directly involved. We are thrilled that so many world-renowned experts are sharing their knowledge with us, and providing an inspirational and out-of-this-world experience for our students.”

Rockets Week is for UTC Leeds students and staff, local schools and the wider community. Some of the events will be open to the public. To find out more, visit www.ingenuityandbeyond. com or email

The week launches on Monday, November 27th, with a business reception, when representatives from the International Space University (ISU) and Association of Retired European Space Agency Staff (ARES) speak to VIPs and UTC Leeds students, giving an insight into career opportunities within the space and STEM industries.

Parent and local businesswoman Jacky Moss is the driving force behind the event and has helped to create and organise it for the UTC. Jacky said:

“As both a parent of a Year 12 student and a huge advocate of all things STEM, it made sense to put together a programme for our students here at UTC Leeds that would educate, motivate and inspire them.” She added: “I believe the combination of fun activities, full-on science and the plethora of outreach and curricula activities we’ve sourced will do just that. It’s so important for the students to believe in themselves, understand their own capabilities and go one step further to be the best that they can be by taking advantage of as many of the options we can offer as possible. We’re looking forward to their feedback on this event and planning the next in the series.”

The initiative is part of a broader UTC Leeds inspired programme called Ingenuity and Beyond, which offers a modern take on education’s traditional three Rs – reading, writing and arithmetic. Further events celebrating robots and racing are planned for 2018.

University Technical Colleges (UTCs) are a new type of specialist technical school. They provide academic and technical qualifications for 14 to 19-year-olds to match the skills needs of regional employers, supporting economic growth and employment. UTC Leeds specialises in advanced engineering and manufacturing, opened in September 2016 and recruits from across Leeds City Region. The £10 million facility is one of a raft of new UTCs in Yorkshire and the Humber. Students complete a technical qualification alongside GCSEs and A Levels and can join at the age of 14 or 16.

UTC Leeds is sponsored by leading advanced engineering employers and the University of Leeds, which is among the top 100 in the world for engineering and technology. The UTC has capacity for 600 students who learn in industry standard facilities. Employers have helped to design the curriculum including setting industry projects and also provide work experience and placements. To find out more about places for September 2018, visit or call (0113) 353 0140. Follow @UTCLeeds on social media.