Senior pupils from Fraserburgh Academy have won TechFest’s annual STEM in the Pipeline competition after impressing judges with their solutions to an energy transition challenge.
The Tada team from Turriff Academy was named as runner-up.
Groups of pupils from six schools visited BP’s North Sea headquarters in Aberdeen Wednesday, 7 December, to demonstrate their physics, maths, chemistry and geology skills to a panel of industry experts.
The Fraserburgh team, named Krow Inc, were awarded first prize and were presented with a trophy, certificates and Amazon vouchers.
The team of S6 pupils was praised for their understanding of the economics involved in managing such a project as well as the role of safety and emissions, demonstrating modern thinking that will lead us through the energy transition.
The team was made up of Dovydas Simkus, Jorja Duncan, Gary Dixon, Mackenzie Morrison and Rosa Kelly, all aged 17.
Mackenzie says, “We were really shocked when we won. We had put in a lot of work. We had to design an oilfield, while considering the environment, and we’ve been working on it for the past two and a half months. We have learned really valuable and transferrable skills like project management as well as getting a realistic insight into the energy sector.”
The Turriff Academy team comprised S6 pupils Hannah White, Amy Dixon, Ella Boon and Kieran Walker, who impressed the panel with their project which focused on an offshore production platform.
STEM in the Pipeline – Energising the Transition is sponsored by bp, Harbour Energy, the North Sea Transition Authority (NSTA) and OPITO, with support from CNOOC International.
Volunteer mentors from the sponsors have been working with the pupils to offer real-life insight and guidance throughout the project, which has been running since September.
Teams from Aboyne Academy, Ellon Academy, Banchory Academy and two teams from Cults Academy battled it out at the final alongside Fraserburgh and Turriff.
Throughout the course of the project, the students had 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.
Teams worked together to take part in a challenging series of tasks to produce a Field Development Plan for the fictional STEM oil field.
The tasks covered subsurface work, production profiling, process engineering, and the journey towards net zero.
The final saw them presenting their final submissions to a panel of judges.
They underwent interviews as well as presenting their ideas and solutions.
Martha Gavan, deputy managing director at TechFest, says, “We were pleased to welcome the pupils to bp to present their research and findings after several months of working as teams and with the help of their industry mentors. We send our huge congratulations to Fraserburgh and Turriff Academies but also to all the pupils who took part. The feedback has been incredible, and they should all be very proud of themselves.”
“This is a valuable experience for them which teaches transferable skills as well as giving them the opportunity to learn what it’s like to work in the global energy industry. They then apply everything they have learned in the classroom to a topical situation. Every year, STEM in the Pipeline challenges the pupils academically and requires skilful project management, communication and teamwork, so it’s a great introduction to university level projects or for entering the workforce,” Gavan continues.
She 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.”
Kathryn McKee, Head of Communications & External Affairs for bp in Scotland says, “Companies like bp and those across the energy sector depend on a strong pipeline of knowledgeable and enthusiastic young people with a good grounding in STEM to come help us design the energy systems of the future.”
“bp has been a proud supporter of the STEM in the Pipeline competition for many years and we’re continually impressed with the professionalism, ingenuity and creativity demonstrated by the pupils taking part. This year is no different with the usual high level of talent on display. Well done to all those involved for tackling this with such passion and interest,” McKee adds.
The pupils will also be eligible to apply for a Silver CREST Award, Britain’s national award scheme for work in the STEM subjects.
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 www.techfest.org.uk.