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Record number of North-east students enjoy virtual work during OPITO’s Energise Your Future at OE19

A record number of secondary school pupils from across the North East of Scotland visited the SPE Offshore Europe event today (September 6th 2019) in Aberdeen, to take part in OPITO’s Energise Your Future (EYF) initiative.

One hundred and sixty pupils attended the event where organisations from across the energy sector gave demonstrations, set interactive challenges and practical experiences to inform and inspire the next generation. The focus was on the energy transition, the use of technology and the variety of new roles and skills that will be required over the next 15 years.

EYF is managed on behalf of the energy sector by OPITO. The initiative, now in its 12th year, provides pupils with the opportunity to engage with a range of energy companies at major UK industry events and encourages them to consider the various careers the sector has to offer.

Twenty exhibitors pledged support offering a range of activities at their stands. Technology played a major role this year, and activities included using ‘smart’ goggles to practice augmented field procedures with digital technology company ABB, as well as walking around seismic data graphs in a fully immersive 3D space generated by artificial intelligence at the University of Aberdeen’s stand.

OPITO, the global not-for-profit skills body for the energy industry, was also exhibiting at Offshore Europe for the first time. Pupils competed on a directional drilling simulator, part of Glasgow Science Centre’s Powering the Future on Tour exhibit, controlling the drilling speed and pressure whilst navigating through various rock formations.

Operator Shell ran its Salt Water Car Challenge, where pupils constructed cars in groups that were then propelled round a custom racetrack by electric motors with lithium batteries, powered by saltwater. Other activities included taking part in an escape room inspired quiz with energy consultancy Xodus Group; calculating their carbon footprint with Aker Solutions; and meeting with recruiters at Wood’s stand to discuss career paths.

Pupils were guided around the exhibitor stands by apprentices from the Oil and Gas Technical Apprentice Programme (OGTAP). The scheme is co-managed by OPITO and the Engineering Construction Training Board (ECITB). Celebrating its 20th year it is one of the UK’s most successful apprenticeships, and has seen more than 2,000 people complete the programme and join the sector.

OPITO’s external affairs director Jill Glennie said: “The energy industry is progressing rapidly, using new technologies and innovations to help transform businesses in ways which were previously unimagined. As our industry transitions, we need to ensure we are working to attract talent and demonstrate the change in future roles.

“It has been very encouraging to see a record number of students attending EYF and the participating organisations have provided a fantastic schedule of activities. These factors have all brought the energy sector to life for these young people who will now have a clearer picture of the opportunities the sector holds for them.”

Steve Phimister, vice president for Shell Upstream, U.K, added: “I am delighted that Shell is a part of Energise Your Future on Education Day. We hope it will help to inspire the next generation of young scientists and engineers whose skills will be in demand as society addresses global energy challenges.”