Dr Philippa Whitford MP: Reflections on her Fellowship | IPT

Dr Philippa Whitford MP has been the Member of Parliament for Central Ayrshire since 2015. For her IPT Business Fellowship, Philippa focussed on Space and Aerospace with visits to BAE Systems, Airbus, Spirit AeroSystems, Heathrow Airport, and NATS. We asked Philippa to tell us about her Fellowship experience and how it benefitted her as a parliamentarian.

Why did you sign up for the IPT Fellowship Programme and how did you first hear about it?

I heard about the IPT fellowships within Parliament, both from a formal email circulated to all MPs and positive feedback from colleagues who had taken part in a range of industries.

I selected placements in Space and Aerospace due to having Prestwick Aerospace Cluster and Prestwick Airport (possible future Spaceport) in my constituency.

Having spent over three decades working as a surgeon (also a STEM sector), I enjoyed learning about a completely new area of expertise and engaging with the UK and Scotland's potential in Aerospace in the future.

What were your highlights during the IPT Fellowship Programme?

In the visits themselves the most interesting aspects were seeing incredibly innovative tech, such as that of Reaction Engines and the small satellite manufacturers in Glasgow, meeting industry leaders of the past such as at Surrey Satellites and, particularly, meeting the young engineers and innovators who will shape the future.

How has the IPT Fellowship Programme helped you in your role as a parliamentarian?

I have regularly taken part in parliamentary questions and debates on space and aerospace and led on the Space Industry Bill for the SNP. It was invaluable in these situations to have garnered a degree of understanding of the sector and also to have contacts I could reach out to for further information when required.