OGV Energy were delighted when Aberdeen's Robert Gordon University accepted our proposal to work with them earlier this year and we were thrilled when the School of Creative and Cultural Business asked us if we would consider being their sole client for the 3rd year Media and PR students, which effectively meant that we would be working with 60 of their students!
Given the perceived dislocation between Generation Z and the Energy sector, we thought it would be really interesting to ask the students to investigate some of the challenges that the Energy sector is faced with in order to get a real insight into the issue.
With this in mind, we set the students 9 questions to investigate and for each question, the student teams were asked to create a 10-minute documentary and write a 1000-word article.
The topics that were investigated were as follows:
The questions were created following discussions with some industry bodies and some of our clients and covered a broad selection of the challenges that the industry is currently facing today.
With some guidance and structure from OGV Energy, the students were encouraged to attend industry events, reach out to industry professionals for interview and conduct in-depth research to investigate the arguments for and against and establish a response to each of the set questions.
Dan Hyland - Operations Director at OGV Energy noted that: “After our initial kick off meeting with the students it was very apparent that few of them had much knowledge of the Energy sector and few were looking at it seriously as a potential career path..”.
The OGV team helped the students schedule meetings with industry professionals and offered support throughout the process but each group maintained full direction and control as to how they went about addressing each challenge.
After commencing the project on 24th September, the students were separated into groups and their project deadline was given as 5th December, when each group would present their documentary, their written article and their conclusions to their lecturers and to a small panel of industry experts.
Each group put in an incredible amount of effort and in the short timeline they were given of circa 10 weeks, they managed to learn an incredible amount about their subject matter as well as the implications the issue may have on the wider Energy sector.
Dr Madeleine Marcella-Hood – Media lecturer said: “This project has been an excellent opportunity for our students to gain real world experience. Over the past ten weeks the students have learned a lot about current issues facing the Energy sector and also strengthened their communication, project management and research skills. At RGU we take real pride in our close links with industry and in producing graduates with relevant knowledge and experience and client projects like this play a very important role in our delivery. We’d like to thank OGV Energy and the industry panel for creating this exciting project and helping mentor our students through the process!
The panel was made up of a combination of media experts and senior figures from industry which meant the students were able to be provided with technical feedback on the production of the documentary as well as feedback on the strength and voracity of their message and conclusions, which worked very well.
Jenny MacDonald – Sector Development and Skills Planning Manager for Skills Development Scotland enthused: “The students should be very proud of their achievements, all of the groups provided high quality work and engaged in a lively panel discussion. The dedication and collaborative effort of the Students, RGU and OGV Energy to deliver the 9 documentaries really showed. As the sector looks to engage “Gen Z” talent this was a unique opportunity to see the sector through their eyes. There was strong acknowledgement by students that the O&G sector has a critical role to play in delivering the Net Carbon ambitions and this could offer strong employment opportunities for their generation out-with the more traditional pathways”
After the presentations, each team of students fielded questions from the panel on their conclusions and it was clear to see that each team now had clearly structured opinions on each subject matter and were engaged and passionate about how the issues may be dealt with, which was very heartening to see.
In particular, it was noted that many of the students who had not thought about working in the energy sector previously were now putting it seriously on their radar.
One student admitted: “I have seen that there are so many opportunities for people with a creative background than I originally thought and this project has introduced me to roles that I would be very interested in, so I will definitely be considering a career in the Energy sector from now on”.
Two other recurring themes that were noted in the feedback session, were that the Oil and Gas industries’ willingness to diversify into the renewable sector seemed to make it a lot more attractive, as did the sectors’ investment in new digital technologies, as many of the students were unaware of what new employment opportunities this would bring and were incentivised to do so if it also brought environmental and lifestyle benefits.
Kenny Dooley – Managing Director of OGV Energy said: “It was very clear from the feedback that we received that getting the Media and PR students to work on these projects and interact with the Energy sector directly themselves has in many cases completely changed the perspective of the students and opened their eyes to the diversity of opportunities available for everyone, which is great news!”.
Overall, this was a hugely enjoyable project to be part of for OGV Energy and we were bowled over with the quality of the results, but it was clear to us that the Energy sector needs to work harder to engage our young people and educate them as to the opportunities that are available in the sector.
It was also clear that if we are able to engage our young people, based on the evidence of this project with RGU, then we will all be in very safe hands!