SPE Offshore Europe 17: Back at school!

8th September 2017

It’s the last day at Offshore Europe 2017, which means that it’s the official school’s day ‘Energise Your Future’ organised by OPITO (Offshore Petroleum Industry Training Organisation). The theme of Offshore Europe is ‘embracing new realities’, something which we all should continue to do. We are hoping to encourage students to learn STEM subjects and show them the great opportunities that working in the oil and gas industry offers.

At Expro, we don’t just focus on this during the show, it’s something that we continually try to do. Our Senior Electronics Engineer, Brenda Graham, gives her thoughts on this very subject and about how she is contributing to the future of our next generation:

I was at Larbert High School, earlier in the year, to take part in its Routes Into Employment event to kick of its STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) week. As a STEM ambassador, I am looking to encourage youngsters to take up STEM subjects.

The event is set up like a speed dating scenario where a number of ambassadors will sit around the room and students in groups of three or four move round and talk to each of us for about five minutes. The idea is that they have a range of ambassadors from different industries and occupations, who are able to give an insight into work in the STEM field and answer questions from the students before they move on to the next ambassador.

Generally speaking, at an event like this there is a mixed bag of students. Some know what direction they want to go and want to talk and some that, well, it’s just some time away from normal class. The latter group are the ones that are the most challenging to try to engage with and get them to talk - never mind anything relating to STEM.

However, it does have its rewards and sometimes not in the most obvious places. I was talking to one girl who was not interested but told me that she wanted to be a beautician. I was interested and asked if she would open her own salon, she answered yes, so I started talking about needing maths. Eh? Well if you have your own salon, you will need to set prices and do your accounts. The light bulb turned on, result!

When talking to the students my opening gambit is quite often asking them, with the name Expro North Sea, what industry do you think we are working in? A few get it straight away and some after prompting them to think of what industries they know about in the North Sea. I then talk about designing electronics for hazardous areas taking the scenario of seeing a spark when switching on a light in the dark.

All in all it was a rewarding experience and I hopefully managed to encourage or reaffirm STEM subject choices.

We welcomed pupils from Banchory, Turriff and Mintlaw to our stand (5D110) and gave them an overview of our company, the opportunity to learn more about the career journey of some of our people and discover how to participate in STEM subjects.

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