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Teachers Hope to Engineer an End to Oil and Gas Industry Skills Shortage

05 January 2008

Teachers are being asked to become students to try to address the shortage of engineers which the oil and gas industry faces.
A handful of science and technology teachers from across Aberdeen city and shire have taken part in a scheme which saw them spend two days with subsea oil and gas firms.

It is hoped they will gain first-hand experience of the skills, knowledge and behaviour required in various working environments in the energy sector.

It is hoped the initiative, which is being piloted by Aberdeen-based Subsea UK member companies Prospect and Nautronix, will help improve teachers' knowledge and understanding of the subsea industry and the range of employment and training opportunities it offers young people.

The scheme builds on the Excellence in Education through Business Links programme, organised and managed by Careers Scotland, by utilising Subsea UK's extensive network of member companies.

By taking part, teachers are able to translate the experience and information gained from the placement back to the classroom for use with pupils when making curricular and career choices.

Turriff Academy physics teacher Jamie McHugh, 33, who lives in the Mintlaw area, had an industrial placement with Prospect.

He said: "I was able to interact freely and question staff from all levels about their daily tasks and how they are using applied physics on a daily basis.

"This included everything from making additions to existing structures and simulating stresses in a joint, to extremely complicated gas and fluid flow simulations.

"To be able to take back to the classroom an extremely positive message about an up-and-coming engineering company and how they work on a day-to-day basis was very rewarding.

"Taking physics out of the textbook and classroom and into real life is part of my job and my experience at Prospect has allowed me to bring physics to the pupils and make it more interesting and relevant."

Subsea UK chief executive David Pridden said: "It is vital that we find a way of translating what is happening in the booming subsea industry in a way that relates directly back to the classroom if we are to find a long-term solution to the skills shortage.

"As part of our 2020 vision for the UK subsea sector we aim to encourage more young people to take up science and maths subjects and our involvement with Careers Scotland is part of the skills strategy in achieving that vision." Teachers are now being offered the chance to participate in further placement opportunities in the subsea sector to discover how science and technology subjects can be promoted as a foundation for entry into employment in the sector.