Students experience virtual subsea work at OPITO event

Source: press release, 7 February 2019

Steph Crawford of OPITO with Albyn school pupils Louise Brodie (16) Harris Macdonald (16) and Stuart Sloan of JFD
Steph Crawford of OPITO with Albyn school pupils Louise Brodie (16) Harris Macdonald (16) and Stuart Sloan of JFD (photo: OPITO)

Students from secondary schools across the North-east of Scotland had the opportunity to take part in an array of subsea focused activities including a virtual tour of the seabed, as part of OPITO’s Energise Your Future (EYF) Thursday, 7 February.

More than 110 pupils from eight Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire schools are taking part in the initiative which is being held during the final day of Subsea Expo at the Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre.

The students taking part are all aged between 13 to 17-years old. They hail from Aberdeen Grammar, the International School Aberdeen, Oldmachar Academy, Albyn School, Mintlaw Academy, Robert Gordon’s College, Peterhead Academy and Meldrum Academy.

EYF is managed by OPITO, the global, not-for-profit, skills body for the energy industry. It has been part of major oil and gas trade events or delivered through standalone sessions since 2008. The event aims to inspire and encourage more young people in the UK to consider the industry as a career choice by providing a chance to get up close with key companies and people who can help explain their businesses as well as roles and routes into the sector.

This year, 13 companies are involved in the Subsea Expo programme including JFD, Nortek UK, ORCA Hub (part of the Oil and Gas Innovation Centre stand), Rovco and Tritech. The Oil & Gas Technology Centre (OGTC) is taking part for the first time which includes two of its young engineers delivering presentations to the students at their stand.

Marine engineering firm EC-OG will offer pupils the chance to use its latest virtual reality technology which will transport them subsea to inspect its subsea power hub and battery equipment.

John McDonald, OPITO CEO, says, “The Energise Your Future initiative at Subsea Expo is a great opportunity for students to learn about the many innovative technologies being developed for the subsea market by some of the sector’s leading businesses.”

“As more and more oil and gas companies embrace new techniques such as virtual reality and artificial intelligence, it is important that young people see and hear first-hand what the future of the industry looks like and the vast and exciting opportunities these developments present to them,” McDonald continues.

Attracting young talent remains a key focus for the sector. The recent OPITO UKCS Workforce Dynamics Review showed that if the sector achieves its ambitions set out in Vision 2035,40,000 people will need to be recruited over the next two decades. Around 10,000 of those are expected to be in roles that don’t yet exist.

McDonald adds, “We are currently developing a new UKCS Skills Strategy to support the skills that will be required by both new and existing personnel operating in the North Sea into the next decade. It is important we provide opportunities through initiatives like EYF to help young people discover that this is a sector with a future worth considering that also has the learning infrastructure in place to help develop their career and unlock their potential.”

Oil & Gas Technology Centre (OGTC) chief executive Colette Cohen says, “The next generation is critical to the sustainable success of our industry. Technology can be a bridge to engaging a generation which has been raised on PCs and gaming, but also to retaining our existing workforce.”

“The application of data analytics, digital tools and dynamic visualisation will reduce costs, improve efficiency, but also appeal to a new energy generation. We look forward to sharing both current and future technology developments with school pupils and hopefully, inspiring a future career in energy,” adds Cohen.

Subsea Expo is organised by Subsea UK and is the largest subsea focused event in Europe, attracting 5,000 delegates and 150 exhibitors.