The need for inspiring the next generation

With the global downturn in oil and gas continuing, it’s natural that many young people will be tempted to look elsewhere when considering future career options.

But promoting the long-term opportunities that will still be available in Scotland’s energy sector in future years remains an important task for employers across the industry.

Last month, around 30 engineering and science students aged between 15 and 17 from Glenwood High School, Glenrothes and Kirkcaldy High School in Fife travelled to Aberdeen to gain a deeper insight into the underwater world and learn about the diverse range of career opportunities available to them.

It was part of a major schools initiative called the Energy Hub, which aims to inspire the next generation and help secure the qualified workforce required to meet future industry demand.

Launched earlier this year by energy education organisation, Inside Industry, the Energy Hub has been developed in partnership with Energy Skills Scotland, part of Skills Development Scotland (SDS), with support from
Subsea UK.

The project aims to bring the sector to life through fun and informative activities which mirror real-life jobs in subsea and the wider energy industry, encouraging more young people to consider energy careers and underline the potential that remains in the sector for fulfilling and rewarding long-term careers.

As part of the six-week programme, students became the youngest people to sit the online refresher Minimum Industry Safety Training (MIST) course, a basic safety awareness programme undertaken by all workers travelling offshore in the North Sea.

During their visit to Aberdeen students also engaged with industry through a number of site visits to Aker Solutions, ROVOP and Survivex, where they were set engineering challenges, got to step inside an ROV simulator and learn about the importance of safety training.

Katy Air

Mike Duncan, programme director at Energy Skills Scotland, said: “For the long-term health of Scotland’s energy industry it remains vitally important that we encourage young people to consider the wealth of careers the sector has to offer.

“The Energy Hub aims to do that by offering young people valuable experience that reflects the kinds of roles that are available.

“The involvement of industry is central to the success of this initiative, and having the backing of employers shows that they also recognise the importance of taking a long-term approach.”

Those that passed the MIST course were also presented with certificates by global learning technologies provider Atlas Knowledge Group.

Darren Peattie, founder and managing director of Inside Industry, said: “The Energy Hub was developed to inspire the future engineers, scientists and marine biologists to consider a career in oil and gas. The sector is going through a tough period at the moment, which may be putting youngsters off from pursuing a career in subsea.”

The Energy Hub will be rolled out across Scotland over the next year in an aim to further strengthen the partnership between industry and education.

Neil Gordon, chief executive of Subsea UK said: “We know that if we are to ensure our sector has the required skillset in years to come then we have to capture the imaginations of youngsters and equip them with the skills required to become our future industry leaders.

“The Energy Hub is a great initiative which truly exposes young people to the creative and engaging reality of the underwater world, which is vital if we are to cement our position as the global centre of subsea excellence in terms of skills, expertise and technology.”

The Energy Hub is one of a range of projects involving SDS aimed at encouraging young people from all backgrounds to consider careers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) industries.

Young people can enter at a range of levels from Modern Apprenticeships to graduate and post-graduate levels.

Nicol Paton, training and competence coordinator at ROVOP, added: “This kind of initiative is very valuable and our involvement provides us with an excellent opportunity to meet enthusiastic youngsters with an interest in the sector. Investing in future talent is vital to our strategy to sustain and grow our business.
“Later this year we intend to recruit our second graduate, who will undertake a two year placement programme with the company.”

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