New Telescope built in China as part of ongoing Space Programme.
Measuring 500 metres, with 4,450 pa...
China has constructed the largest radio telescope in the world as part of Bejing’s multi-billion-dollar Space Program.
Measuring 500 metres, with 4,450 panels roughly spanning an area of 30 football pitches, officials hope to detect signals and signs of life beyond earth. The Five-Hundred-Meter Aperture Spherical Telescope (FAST) is situated within Pintang County, within the province of Guizhou and built at the total cost of £180 million.
Peng Bo, Director of the NAO Radio Astronomy Technology Laboratory said: “FAST's potential to discover an alien civilisation will be five to 10 times that of current equipment, as it can see farther and darker planets.” Scientists will primarily utilise the telescope for research for the first two years to ensure the telescope is fully functional, ensuring minor issues can be resolved quickly, but will then ensure it is accessible for scientists and astronomers. It is hoped this the increased size telescope will intensify its sensitivity, enabling the detection of gravitational waves and pulsars within space, in addition to detecting early signs of hydrogen which would enable scientists to research, discover and understand the origins of the universe.
Nan Rendong, Chief Scientist with the FAST Project, told China.org: "Its scientific impact on astronomy will be extraordinary, and it will certainly revolutionize other areas of the natural sciences.” However, the US Defence Department has expressed unease with the telescope’s construction, stating that it could be used to "prevent adversaries from using space-based assets in a crisis."
Over 9,000 residents had to be relocated and compensated a result of the telescope’s construction, but most of the former residents have viewed the move positively. China is increasingly investing in its space programme, where its long term goals are to construct an orbiting station by 2020 and ultimately plan a new mission to the moon.
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Apprenticeships can bridge skills gap says Autodesk director
The UK construction industry needs 216,800 new workers by 2025 to meet rising demand, according to the Construction Skills Network published by CITB.
Even before Covid-19, it was estimated it needs to attract 400,000 new recruits each year to meet the UK’s infrastructure needs.
But given one in three current construction employees are over 50 there is predicted to be a 20-25% decline in the available workforce over the next decade. And with end of the free movement of people from the EU, it has further limited access to skilled talent.
Mike Pettinella, Director, Autodesk Construction Solutions EMEA, believes the solution may be one that is hardly new, but might have taken a back seat during the pandemic.
"Apprenticeships could help us bridge the construction skills gap and meet this rapidly rising demand, and attract a new crop of younger talent to the industry," he said.
"Apprenticeships benefit everyone. For candidates, it’s an opportunity to learn valuable skills without incurring thousands of pounds of student debts. For employers, it’s a chance to train up employees in the competencies that are really needed – combining technical knowledge with collaboration and team work, which are equally important as you enter a new industry. And if you’re a larger company and already required to pay the apprenticeship levy, it makes sense to ensure you’re benefitting from the scheme too."
Marshall Construction recently took on nine new apprenticeships covering various roles. "Some of our previous apprentices have left and started their own businesses, which sets them up for life," said Chairman Robert Marshall. "Most of our current managers came from organic growth within the business whom we have trained to our own standards." Firms such as Barnwood Construction and Keepmoat Homes are also advertising and supporting apprenticeships.
According to the CSN, most English regions will experience an increase in construction workers by 2025, with East Midlands (1.7%) and West Midlands (1.4%) forecast to lead demand. Scotland (1.4%) and Wales (0.7%) are also predicted to fare well. The only region forecast to see a slight decline in workforce is the North East (-0.1%).
Major projects such as HS2 are driving growth in some regions and infrastructure (5.2%) and private housing (6.7%) should see the healthiest pace of expansion by 2025.
The impact of the Fourth Industrial Revolution on the future shape of work will be profound. Modelling by the McKinsey Global Institute on the effects of technology adoption on the UK workforce shows that up to 10 million people, or around 30 percent of all UK workers, may need to transition between occupations or skill levels by 2030.