Payload Pioneers 2023: Joseph Dudley

Behind some of the UK’s most comprehensive space industry data is a 29-year-old founder focused on developing and growing the nation’s space workforce.

Joseph Dudley started the Space Skills Alliance in 2019 at age 25. The organization, a think tank/consultancy practice, publishes multiple reports on the space workforce, skills demand, and industry pay each year. This year, the alliance released the UK Space Skills Landscape Map, which provided analysis on the skills demand for nearly 200 space orgs.

“The Space Skills Alliance has been instrumental in helping the UK’s space employers identify and understand the challenges faced in recruiting the skills they need to grow,” Nigel Bannister, director of skills at Space Park Leicester, said in Dudley’s nomination.

Joseph’s journey: Dudley honed in on the pipeline issues for the UK space industry right away, getting involved in and leading the UK student space society while in university and launching to help his fellow enthusiasts track down jobs in aerospace.

His passion for building a strong community of space enthusiasts to bolster the UK landscape never faltered. The Space Skills Alliance has been notching achievement after achievement spearheaded by Dudley, including publishing a free directory of training opportunities and winning a commission from the UK Space Agency to help the government understand where skill gaps lie in the sector.

Fair game: Throughout his time building up the space workforce, Dudley has remained focused on accessibility and equity in pay and hiring for underrepresented groups in the industry. 

He has been vocal on the importance of improving hiring practices “to make them more inclusive and to improve diversity—for example, avoiding salary negotiations that typically result in lower pay for women and minorities,” Dudley said.

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