Students from the east of England stepped into the shoes of energy workers and tested out their subsea navigational skills as part of OPITO’s Energise Your Future (EYF). The initiative was held yesterday (Thursday 16th May) during the second day of EEEGR’s Southern North Sea (SNS) Conference & Exhibition 2019 (SNS2019) in Norwich.
Managed by the global, energy skills organisation OPITO, this is the first time EYF has been held during an SNS conference. Over the past 11 years, the EYF programme has been a key fixture at many major UK energy conferences including Offshore Europe and Subsea Expo. It aims to inspire and encourage young people to consider the energy industry as a career choice by providing an opportunity to engage with businesses and personnel who operate in the sector.
Yesterday’s event at the Norfolk Showground saw around 50 students aged between 16- and 19-year olds taking part from local colleges including East Coast College, West Suffolk College, Wymondham College and East Norfolk College.
Six companies were involved in the programme: Survival technology firm Survitec had students stepping into the shoes - and clothing - of offshore workers by trying on survival suits and lifejackets. Next Geosolutions hosted a nautical map treasure hunt activity and an interactive quiz. Leading worldwide wind energy producer Scottish Power Renewables (part of the major Iberdrola Group), 3Sun Group, Gardline and Gee-Force Hydraulics also hosted young people at their stands.
OPITO also took the opportunity to discuss its recent UKCS Workforce Dynamics Skills Landscape 2019 – 2025 report with conference delegates. Its findings suggest that in just six years the industry will need to attract around 25,000 new people, with 4,500 of those in completely new roles that do not currently exist. These will fall into areas such as data science, automation and new materials.
Mark Cullens, OPITO director, said: “Energise Your Future has been inspiring the next generation to pursue a career in the energy sector since 2008. The east of England is a significant UK energy hub with a unique mix of oil and gas and renewable expertise, so we are very pleased to see the uptake by local students as well as companies attending SNS2019.
“This is an exciting time for anyone considering a future within the energy sector. OPITO’s recent Skills Landscape 2019-2025 report highlighted that around 4,500 new people will be employed in roles that don’t currently exist today to support the industry. Initiatives like EYF are an important way for companies to engage with the next generation so they can discover some of the fantastic career opportunities that the sector holds.”
Daniel Howlett-Clarke, Survitec business sector manager, comments: “At Survitec we design, manufacture and supply critical safety and survival equipment to the offshore energy sector. From product design and testing to sales and operations, we hope that our involvement in the OPITO EYF event helps to promote this side of the industry and the types of careers available within it.”
SNS2019 - The Southern North Sea Conference & Exhibition is a two-day conference held at the Norfolk Showground, Norwich.