Arthur shares his experience as a Young Graduate Trainee at ESA

6 December 2018

Arthur Van Eeckhout, 24 years old, from Belgium, started at ESA as an intern and then successfully joined the YGT Programme last year in the Technology Transfer & Business Incubation Office*. 

Arthur, what do you do as an ESA YGT?

My role consists of developing indicators and metrics to measure the value of our programme, more specifically our 20 ESA Business Incubation Centres (BICs) across Europe.

On a daily basis, I liaise with our stakeholders (Member States delegations as well as network partners like the BIC managers) to create Key Performance Indicators (KPI). Using KPIs, I evaluate if and how our programme meets  stakeholder expectations. One of the new metrics that I have applied to the evaluation of the ESA BIC’s is the Net Promoter Score, which gives us information on the satisfaction level our startups with our service. Information and feedback such as this provides valuable insights that contribute towards the improvement of our programme.  Thus far, the results have been very positive.

You studied economics . How did you move from economics to space?

While living in Chile, I discovered the European Southern Observatory, where my passion for space was born. Following my bachelor’s degree, I sought a Master’s degree in Space Economics, however this did not exist at that time. Fortunately, I discovered the International Space University in Strasbourg, France, where I completed a Master’s degree in Space Studies. This programme provided an interdisciplinary approach to the global space industry and gave me the opportunity to undertake research related to space economics.

How did you find out about the ESA YGT Programme?

It is well known throughout the space industry that the ESA YGT programme is a valuable opportunity for young graduates to get a foot in the door in the space industry. I wanted to work in the heart of space in Europe and to develop a meaningful network of professionals that could contribute to my continued learning and future professional aspirations.

Funnily enough, I applied for a YGT position and an internship at ESA at approximatively the same time. I got the internship first and began working in the Directorate of Human and Robotic and Exploration, working with the Strategy Officer on Public/Private partnerships. It is during that time that I applied for the same YGT position that had re-opened - and here I am!

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Arthur during the ESA Open Day at ESTECAccess the image

Has this been a fun experience?

Yes, I have had a very positive experience this year during my YGT position. I have met space professionals of many nationalities and disciplines and now that I am working with start-ups, I have come to understand how Europe and ESA aim to remain at the forefront of space knowledge, development and technology. The gained knowledge and professional experience has therefore been both exciting and enriching! 

What is your fondest memory so far?

To commemorate the 50th anniversary of ESTEC, I was invited along with three other Young Graduate Trainees to present what we think the future of ESTEC might look like. This presentation was held in front of a large audience, which included  Dutch Ministers and mayors. Experiences such as this that take place beyond my typical YGT position are both an honour and a lot of fun! 

What would be your advice to graduates who would like to apply?

In your cover letter, it is important to share concrete and meaningful examples of your professional experience, including teamwork. Demonstrate that you are self-motivated. I encourage you to also share some insight about your personal passion and/or connection with space. Above all, make sure to apply before the deadline and remember you can select just one position!

*ESA Technology Transfer and Business Incubation Office initiated its ESA Business Incubation Centres (ESA BICs) in 2000, to inspire and work with entrepreneurs to turn space-connected business ideas into commercial start-ups companies.

More information

Learn more about the YGT Programme and apply here

The opportunities will be open for applications until 16 December 2018.

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