Aberdeen is long-established as an energy city, so you’d imagine there would be lots of young people with future careers aspirations to get involved. However, last year’s Skills Scotland event at the Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre had minimal representation from the local offices of energy organisations – missing an opportunity to showcase the wide range of careers available.

With over 10,000 visitors across the programme, Skills Scotland aims to address this gap and inspire young people about their future careers and possible post-education opportunities – and it’s a key highlight on the academic calendar for students S4 and above.

With a similar goal in mind, The Oil & Gas Technology Centre (OGTC) and Developing the Young Workforce North East (DYWNE) leveraged their positions in their local STEM group to bring together like-minded organisations and The Energy Hub was born.

Susan Brimmer, people and organisation development manager at The OGTC explained:

“The ethos behind The Energy Hub was to work collectively with local energy organisations to promote the diverse range of opportunities available – providing a one-stop-shop for our industry. There has been a history of competing for talent and it can be very daunting if you’ve never been exposed to the industry through parents or family members. By pulling together a cross-section of organisations we can start providing a clear landscape/information and clarify confused perceptions of the industry.

“It is vitally important that as an industry, we harness the wealth of talent in the region. Key to this is attracting young people – our next generation. The consensus of The Energy Hub was that we need to ensure we don’t just attract engineers, and instead showcase the huge breadth of roles, both now and in the future.”

Key to the success of The Energy Hub was cross-industry collaboration which saw a variety of partners get involved in the inaugural showcase: Bilfinger; Centrifuges Un-limited; Chrysaor; Expro; OPITO; Subsea 7; and Total.

Susan continued:

“One great example was a conversation with a physics teacher from an Aberdeenshire school. We spoke about the lack of knowledge of energy – where it comes from and how it’s used. As a result, we’ve developed some unique content to share with local schools as part of the ‘Classroom Flip’ pilot. We hope that tools like this will support young people and create more interest in STEM education and careers.”

Martin Johnston, senior school and business coordinator at DYW North East concluded:

“DYW North East wanted to show its support for this fantastic event, so became one of the key sponsors for 2019. Our collaboration with the OGTC and its partner network of organisations showed that we can work together to help young people develop their skills and knowledge of the world of work. The creation of The Energy Hub allowed the young people from schools across the region to understand the Energy industry better and the STEM careers that may be available to them in the future.

A key supporter of The Energy Hub, with representation alongside the partners, OPITO the skills organisation for the energy industry were delighted to take part and meet a range of young people interested to see where their career ideas could take them."

Jill Glennie, director of external affairs at OPITO, added: “The Energy Hub provided an opportunity for industry to collectively inspire the next generation. We are all working towards the same goal, sharing the range of opportunities our industry has to offer.

“OPITO’s skills research predicts that a number of new roles will come into play, inspired by robotics and artificial intelligence, machine learning and the Internet of Things, alongside the more familiar disciplines of geology, drilling and reservoir engineering. Roles such as 3D maternal scientists, gamification designers, AI learning specialists and virtual reality journey builders; roles that will attract a new generation, a new workforce with innovative ideas and different ways of working. “Industry will be defined by a multi-skilled workforce; one that is flexible, dynamic and technology enabled and events such as Skills Scotland allows us to promote the new digital era to the future workforce.”

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