October 21, 2013: ESA YGT and National Trainee introduction

On Monday 21 October 2013, the Belgian Federal Science Policy Office (BELSPO) presented, in the presence of astronaut Frank De Winne and State Secretary for Science Policy Philippe Courard, the first three laureates of the Belgian National Trainee Program. Johan Vennekens, Robin Nelen and Romain Gérard will begin their internship at ESTEC, the European Space Agency’s (ESA) Space Research and Technology Centre, on the 1st of November. The aim of the program is to offer young engineers and researchers the opportunity to work on space projects and obtain the work experience during a 12 month internship, which could be extended to 24 months.

In this way both BELSPO and ESA want to encourage young engineers and researchers to go for a career in the space sector. While it is indisputable that there is indeed a growing demand for highly skilled professionals from the Belgian aerospace industry, it remains difficult for a young professional to find a steady job within this industry. Companies prefer people who already have work experience, for the obvious reason that the time it takes for a person to bring a return on investment (ROI) to the company is shorter. Obviously it is not an easy feat for a young professional to obtain work experience, which is why such programs as the Belgian National Trainee Program are of such importance.

ESA is by far one of the most coveted organizations to gain first work experience, which is why the competition for an internship position is fierce. For those who were not selected for the Belgian National Trainee Program, you can directly apply for an ESA internship, the so-called Young Graduate Trainee, or in short YGT opportunities.

At beSPACE we are convinced that ‘preparation is key’ when applying for a YGT opportunity. A well prepared person can drastically increase his or her chances to be shortlisted and selected for a YGT opportunity. The presentation below can help you in doing so, listing not only a couple of useful facts, but also what you need to pay attention to if you want to increase your chances. At the end of the presentation there are also a series of alternatives to the YGT program mentioned as a reminder that there is more opportunities out there that meets the eye.

If you have questions, you can contact us at info@be-space.eu.

We’d like to invite you to an event we organise together with BELSPO & state secretary for science policy Philippe Courard. At the event, beSPACE will make a presentation about how students and young graduates can maximise their chances when applying for space internships, such as ESA YGT and Belgium’s NTP programme.

The event will take place on Monday 21/10 from 10h00 – noon at the Planetarium in Brussels (Boechoutlaan 10 avenue de Boechout, 1020 Brussels — Find the venue on maps). You’ll find more details below, as well as online at BELSPO (NL link or FR link).

Event programme

10:00  Word of welcome and introduction by Frank De Winne
10:15  Speech by secretary of state Philippe Courard
10:25  Introduction of the three Belgian National Trainees
10:30  Signature of the charter where the trainees agree to promote careers in science, technology and space during and after their traineeship
11:00  Presentation by beSPACE on “How to apply for the National Trainee Programme / the Young Graduate Trainee Programme at ESA”
11:30 Drink