I RECENTLY spoke in the debate in the Scottish Parliament on opportunities in the space sector in Scotland. Many people think of space and think of astronauts and spaceships but there is so much more to the sector, and it is all happening here in Scotland.

Scotland’s own space strategy referenced the sector as “one of Scotland’s best kept secrets”.

I have been interested in the space sector for several years now, especially with Skyrora, who manufacture and launch rockets, and operate in my constituency.

I have also recently launched a Cross-Party Group on Space in the Scottish Parliament to bring the sector and MSPs together.

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I hope this platform raises more awareness for the sector and voices issues the sector faces in the current climate.

In the wider picture, there are other areas in Scotland also active within the sector. In Glasgow, more small satellites are built than anywhere outside California.

The space sector is expanding faster here in Scotland than it is anywhere else in the UK. It is, reportedly, due to grow in value to £4 billion by 2030, which equates to about 20,000 jobs in the sector by that year.

Like many other sectors, the space sector is facing great recruitment and supply chain issues.

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Brexit has worsened these issues and it is for the UK Government to start listening to sectors such as the space sector and address those skills shortages sooner rather than later.

It is also for the Scottish Government, our universities and the 130 space companies in Scotland to do more outreach work to our young people to show them the benefits of the sector and what it has to offer. I mentioned in my speech that we must not only upskill Scotland’s current workforce but entice the younger generation.

Scotland has planted its flag on the space industry map. It is our job now to support the sector, develop the sector and ensure we have the right people with the right skills to continue the success of the sector here in Scotland.