Secondary pupils to embark on energy challenge

Source: press release, 21 September 2022

STEM in the Pipeline – energising the transition – returns to its original format in 2022
STEM in the Pipeline – energising the transition – returns to its original format in 2022 (photo: TechFest)

Secondary school pupils across Aberdeen City and Shire are gearing up to put their physics, maths, chemistry and geology skills to the test to solve TechFest’s energy industry challenge.

TechFest’s STEM in the Pipeline – energising the transition – returns to its original in-person format for 2022 and got underway with a special launch at Robert Gordon University recently.

Sponsored by bp, Harbour Energy, the North Sea Transition Authority and OPITO – and with support from CNOOC International – the programme will see 10 teams of senior pupils tackling a realistic energy industry challenge over the next few months. Throughout the course of the project, the students will have the opportunity to learn about geology, reservoir engineering, process engineering, finance, processing, project management and the energy industry’s transition towards net-zero carbon emissions.

During the introduction day, students attended a series of introductory lectures and hands-on practical tasks in the morning, as well as a computer practical session in the afternoon where the newly formed teams began working together.

They also met the industry professionals and academics who will advise them on the best approach to take for this year’s project and were introduced to their mentors who will guide them for the duration of the programme.

Teams will be expected to work together and take part in a challenging series of tasks to produce a Field Development Plan for the fictional STEM oil field. The tasks cover subsurface work, production profiling, process engineering, and the journey towards net zero.

Martha Gavan, TechFest education manager, says, “Hosting the 2022 edition of STEM in the Pipeline – energising the transition as an in-person event is a fantastic boost after the events of the last few years. We are excited to introduce a new group of secondary pupils to this year’s STEM in the Pipeline, during which, they will have the opportunity to experience what it’s like to work in the energy industry. Every year the project receives exceptionally positive feedback from students, teachers and industry professionals and is a brilliant opportunity for students to apply the knowledge they have learned in school to a real-life situation.”

“As well as being academically challenging the project requires skilful project management, communication, and teamwork, and is a great introduction to university level projects or for entering the workforce,” Gavan adds. “Thanks to the continued contribution from our sponsors and supporters and the industry professionals who volunteer their time to mentor the students, we can continue to offer this unique programme to young people who are passionate about pursuing a career using STEM skills.”

Over the next few months, the secondary school pupils will gain valuable insight into careers in the energy sector before presenting their solution at the final event in December. Pupils who take part in STEM in the Pipeline will also be eligible to apply for a Silver CREST Award, the British Science Associations national award scheme for work in the STEM subjects.

Schools taking part this year include Aboyne Academy, Banchory Academy, Banff Academy, Cults Academy, Ellon Academy, Fraserburgh Academy, Portlethen Academy, Robert Gordon’s College and Turriff Academy.

TechFest is an Aberdeen-based charity which aims to engage young people in the four main STEM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) and encourage them to go on to follow a career which utilises these skills by demonstrating that they are both fun and relevant in day-to-day life. For more information on TechFest, visit