Pioneering education initiative to boost skills for energy sector

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A pioneering education initiative, Your Future In Energy, that aims to give school pupils clear paths into careers in the energy industry, launches this week in Aberdeen with a pilot at the city’s Northfield Academy.

The pilot comes at the start of a year in which the energy sector is set to see considerable investment and job creation with the price of oil making a strong start to the year and the Scottish government reaffirming its commitment to investment in renewables. Attention continues to focus on how to meet the resulting demand for skilled workers.

Unlike previous initiatives aimed at encouraging pupils to enter the industry, Your Future In Energy is a cross-industry, streamlined programme integrated into the school curriculum and follows pupils through from primary six to the end of secondary school. The programme has been developed in line with the Curriculum for Excellence and has the support of the Scottish Government and industry leaders.

In particular, the programme aims to highlight the diversity of careers within the energy sector and the different routes into them, whether it be through university, college, apprenticeships, or other opportunities within the workplace.

Tom Clark, Managing Director of Your Future In Energy said: “This is the first time experts spanning the education sector, energy industry and training bodies have come together to map where the skills shortages lie, which competencies are needed to fulfil these roles, and in turn which school subjects will steer pupils towards achieving these.

“What’s different about this programme is its ability to move beyond the recruitment fairs and more sporadic CSR initiatives to a more streamlined, cross-industry approach to securing the future talent that the energy sector so desperately needs.”

Energy Minister Fergus Ewing said: “Scotland’s energy sector leads the world and provides excellent career opportunities. There are already tens of thousands of people in high quality, highly skilled rewarding jobs in the sector, and as it continues to expand, this number can only increase.

“There are enormous opportunities for our young people in this vibrant and growing sector, and the Scottish Government is determined to give young people the skills they need to succeed. Our country has a long and proud tradition of science and engineering excellence, and improving science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) education, in line with Curriculum for Excellence, is a key priority for the Scottish Government.

“As an education and industry partnership, the Your Future in Energy initiative provides young people with a valuable insight into careers in the energy industry.”

The pilot was launched today at international learning and skills provider Atlas, one of several companies backing Your Future in Energy. During their visit, S3 pupils were shown how to use the award-winning Atlas Knowledge Centre which will allow them to build their own personalised library of authoritative technical information for use throughout their education, supporting their future career choices and transition to the workplace.

Chief Executive of Atlas, John Rowley, said: “Learning technologies play an important part in education today, both at school and in the workplace. Today’s young people are digital natives, at ease learning online and in their own time, and we hope our resources will prove useful to the pupils. Your Future In Energy is an excellent initiative, with industry and education working together, and we are delighted to be supporting it.”

Throughout the week, as well as company visits, the pupils, who will shortly be making their Higher subject choices, will participate in industry-led workshops on transferable skills, interview skills, CV building, psychometric testing and presentation skills, and attend an opportunity fair where they will find out first-hand the range of prospects the industry has to offer them.

Ali Dow, Deputy Head Teacher of Northfield Academy said, “Your Future In Energy is exposing our pupils to jobs they might never have considered before, and crucially, helping them to understand where the knowledge they learn here at school can take them after they leave.”

The broader initiative has been supported by the Offshore Contractors Association which has been instrumental in securing the involvement of its member companies. Bill Murray, Chief Executive of the OCA said “Given the challenges facing the energy sector in the coming decades, this is exactly the type of cross-sector approach we need to deliver tomorrow’s talent.”

Also involved in the pilot are Stork Technical Services, Amec, Wood Group, BIS Salamis, Sparrows Group, James Jack Cranes and JP Kenny. Following the pilot, the programme will be reviewed with the intention of rolling it out across the North East, Scotland and beyond.

Industry and education partners keen to get involved in the initiative are urged to contact Your Future In Energy via tom@yourfutureinenergy.com.

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