NEWS & INSIGHT | Opinion
Shape, empower and inspire – our journey so far!
I’m proud to work for the OGTC and as we celebrate our third birthday, I would like to tell you about one aspect of our work that’s particulary close to my heart…
STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) are important education topics that can lead to exciting career opportunities for young people. As our industry moves into the era of the energy transition and Industry 4.0, the need for young people with a STEM education has never been more important as we search for innovative solutions to evolving challenges.
So how is the OGTC playing its part in inspiring the younger generation to join the industry and transform it through technology?
In our first year, the OGTC got involved with existing STEM programmes such as Primary Engineer and Vex Robotics. We also offered internships and work experience on an ad-hoc basis as well as supporting the Career Ready Programme.
During year two, we got involved with even more exciting projects, such as working with OPITO to develop the concept for the ‘Theatre of Energy’, which will be launched in the redeveloped Aberdeen Science Centre later this year. We also worked closely with North East Scotland College (NESCOL) and Energy Skills Partnership (ESP) to bring the world’s biggest STEM tournament, FIRST® Lego League, to Aberdeen City and ‘Shire. We supported, Heathryburn Primary School, who won the innovation project award and have since been presented the ‘wildcard’ place at the Scottish national finals. We can’t wait to hear how they get on, but in the meantime, here’s a look at their preparations for the local awards:
My proudest moment came when we received a thank you letter from one of the pupils:
“I was not part of the Supreme Lego Team, but I felt like I was included and for that I thank you and your inspiring company!”
Last year we realised there is potential for added impact and it would make sense to work together with other oil and gas organisations and STEM providers. As a result, we established our local oil and gas/energy industry STEM group. Meeting quarterly, our focus is on leveraging industry resources, enabling access through technology, and minimising duplication of effort. We also want to provide relevant content, activities and consistent key messages to children, young people, teachers, parents and the wider community.
One of our first successes was ensuring a joint oil and gas industry presence at the 2019 Skills Scotland careers event, where The Energy Hub was born. The ethos behind it was to work collaboratively with local energy organisations to provide the diverse range of opportunities available – a one-stop-shop for our industry if you like. By pulling together a cross-section of organisations we were able to start providing a clearer view of the industry and clarify confused perceptions.
We’ve since gone on to map all local STEM activities so that we can continue to collaborate and leverage the opportunities to engage.
We don’t limit our activities to children and young people. As an industry, we need to harness the wealth of talent in the region and ensure they grow with industry, inspiring and nurturing the next generation of leaders to ensure the wealth of knowledge and experience isn’t lost forever.
With this in mind, we launched Mentoring with Energy, which was developed by the OGTC in collaboration with Repsol Sinopec, Bilfinger and CNOOC, alongside the AXIS Network. It harnesses the power of app technology, alongside traditional mentoring techniques, to initially match and then connect mentees with suitable mentors. Once successful, it will provide a truly flexible approach to mentoring, connecting people across the industry to ensure tomorrow’s workforce is supported today.
This has evolved with the launch of Mentoring Circles, a peer-run mentoring group which addresses the issues women in the oil and gas energy sector face when taking their career to the next level.
So, what’s next?
At the moment, we’re working on a Flipped Classroom pilot with Aberdeenshire Council and developing an ‘energy transition’ module for primary and secondary schools that is aligned to Curriculum for Excellence. We are also working on the list of 2020/21 academic year activities for schools, colleges and universities.
The OGTC is a relatively small organisation, and everyone working here is committed to making a difference in the community. Getting involved in the STEM agenda is a great way for us to do this in a meaningful way. If you would like to find out more, please get in touch. You are also welcome to get involved by coming along to our next local oil and gas / energy STEM Group meeting at 2pm on Wednesday 24th February, click here to for information.
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