20th Dec, 2023

Why we support young people - and why you should too

Claxton Engineering Services has a history of offering opportunities for young people. Neil McKinnon, Global Resources Manager, explains why supporting the next generation is a priority from both an organisational and personal perspective.

Neil Mc Kinnon web

Can you tell us what Claxton Engineering Services does?

Claxton Engineering Services, part of the Acteon Group of companies, has nearly 40 years' experience in the delivery of essential services applicable throughout the entire life cycle of the oil and gas industry—from pre-drilling to drilling, production, and decommissioning. Our team are strategically located across six global sites to manage and deliver these services. Alongside our existing Product Service Offerings (PSOs), our engineers are actively developing the next generation of tooling and solutions. This initiative not only continues to support oil and gas operations but also actively contributes to the unfolding energy transition by continuing our involvement in sectors such as renewables.

Why is engaging with the next generation important to the company?

There are several compelling reasons why this is important. Firstly, it aligns with the moral principle to actively support our communities through engagement and creating opportunities. Moreover, it is crucial to strategically plan for our workforce succession pipeline to ensure a sustainable future. The upcoming generation plays a pivotal role in shaping this future as we move towards the energy transition. By actively involving and motivating them about our current and future endeavours, we aim to position Claxton Engineering Services as an ideal match for their career aspirations. I am fortunate that I am part of a senior leadership team that are aligned to this approach, endorsed by Sam Hanton, Managing Director and Laura Claxton, Chief Operating Officer.

And what are your personal motivations for supporting young people?

I have been an advocate of supporting young people for close to 15 years. Personally, I recognise the abundant talent young people possess, yet I understand the challenge of figuring out where to start. This is why I find it crucial to help them make informed decisions by providing clear information, support and opportunities. With my own professional background spanning mechanical engineering and learning & development, I have been fortunate to witness the growth of many young individuals, watching them realise their potential and achieve successful careers and - more importantly - develop as individuals. This remains a source of my motivation in the continued support of young people. Even now, I continue to be approached by former apprentices, gaining immense satisfaction from learning about the success and growth of their careers. That is why I felt it was important to not only participate but to become more involved. I have been a board member with DYW North East since 2021. This year I also assumed the role of trustee at Lifestars SCIO, a local Aberdeen charity initiated by Neve McPherson.

Can you tell us a bit more about the opportunities that Claxton Engineering Services offers for young people?

Claxton Engineering has a history of offering opportunities for young people. Signing up to the Young Person's Guarantee validates our commitment for the future. Whether in office-based positions, or technical roles within the workshop or offshore, we consistently seek to provide avenues for employment. Our Regional Manager, David Anderson, shares this view and his team continue to also offer support. In terms of engagement, Claxton Engineering Services has actively participated in various initiatives this year, including careers fairs with North East Scotland College (NESCol) and visits to secondary and primary schools. The most recent visit involved my trusty toy crane and a scenario of deploying one of our “tools” downhole. I believe in going the extra mile to engage young people in ways that go beyond traditional presentations or handouts. It has proven to be a resounding success and I hope to continue to develop this approach into 2024 and beyond.

David Anderson, Regional Manager, Claxton Engineering Services presents at an Offshore Energies UK (OEUK) event. David is also a strong supporter of the company's commitment to the next generation.

Claxton Engineering Services is one of the early signatories to the new Young Person’s Guarantee (YPG) pledge form. How did you find the pledge process?

Clear and straightforward. If your organisation has not signed up, I recommend that you contact DYW North East and a member of their team will be delighted to talk you through it. The DYW North East team are attentive and supportive in making the process as transparent as possible. I was impressed with the turnaround from application submission to the notification that our application was successful.

As well as your company’s involvement as a YPG pledge partner, you sit on the board of DYW North East. Do you have any words of advice for an individual or organisation that is new to supporting young people?

My advice is simple: get involved. If you are not sure where to begin, reach out to the DYW North East team. For organisations who wish to fulfil their corporate social responsibilities, the YPG scheme is a great way to kick start this and link your organisation with the future workforce - it is without doubt one of the most rewarding activities I get to undertake within my role. In my position on the board, I directly witness the achievements of DYW and the YPG in benefiting young people, not only in the North East but throughout Scotland. I believe I express the sentiments of my fellow board members when I say that while there is still progress to be made, we are consistently motivated and energised by organisations dedicating themselves to the YPG and the prospects it provides. Despite the challenges faced by young people in recent years, our board remains dedicated to providing support and advocating for the voices of young individuals.

Any parting thoughts?

Starting my career as an engineering apprentice over 20 years ago, I've witnessed the evolution to the broad and accessible opportunities now available to young individuals. In Scotland, foundation, modern and graduate apprenticeships span a wide range of frameworks and are available to a wider range of demographics, presenting employers with a wealth of options. To any employer hesitating to embrace the advantages of hiring a young person, I strongly urge you to seriously consider it. You won't be disappointed, and you'll be providing a young individual with the chance to grow, realise their talent, and surpass their potential.

Would your organisation like to connect with or recruit young people? The Young Person's Guarantee is a great way to explore the different ways that you can offer support. Drop the DYW North East team a note to find out more or arrange a chat.

Find out more about career opportunities at Claxton Engineering here.

Get in touch with the team at info@dyw.org.uk

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