Under the leadership of the Director General Jan Wörner, the European Space Agency (ESA) has affirmed  its commitment to Diversity and Inclusiveness (D&I) by putting those values high on the corporate agenda.

The objectives pursued develop along two axes. On one side, ESA strives to foster a broader interest for STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) and space careers and to attract, recruit and retain a more diverse pool of talent. At the same time, ESA is also increasing its efforts to create a modern, inclusive working environment where people value diversity in teams and take others’ perspectives into account and make sure they feel comfortable being themselves – regardless of gender, gender identity and expression, age or working experience, sexual orientation, physical or mental challenges, ethnicity and educational, religious or social background.

Over the last two years, ESA has focused on attracting talents with disabilities, striving to ensure a collective effort in reducing those visible and invisible barriers constraining the ability to pursue greater inclusiveness. In particular, significant steps have been undertaken in opening up to young people with disabilities, paving the way for making ESA a more inclusive, modern and forward-looking Agency.

Following the successful implementation of a pilot internship programme for students with visual impairment at ESA’s site in Spain in 2018, actions have been taken aiming at recruiting  young graduates with disabilities by end of 2020 in a number of establishments across Europe. We are sure that this experience will increase our awareness of the challenges related to disability inclusion, and the benefit that this inclusion could bring to the organisation.