The oil and gas industry can offer excellent career opportunities for young engineers on and offshore all over the world. Employers are often on the lookout for the brightest engineering minds fresh out of university, but are the same companies looking for talent taking the time to engage with students before they are handed a degree certificate?
There is more to a career than just one strong skill set and training. Understanding the businesses aspects behind a project can be as important as operating and building the machinery it needs. By engaging with engineering students about the skills required for project management, we can give the next generation of the oil and gas workforce a better overview and understanding of how the industry operates.
Over the past seven years we have been supporting Team Aberdeen University (TAU) Racing. The group is made up of engineering students from first year up to postgraduate level, who build and race a single seat car in the IMechE Formula Student event at Silverstone every year. Over the course of ten months TAU spend about 11,000 hours building and fine-tuning every aspect of the car, including the engine and in-car electronics.
As well as offering financial support to TAU, we pass on our knowledge of project management and experience of delivering high quality presentations, with confidence. Whilst engineering is at the heart of TAU racing, the students have strict budget and scheduling restrictions as part of the Formula Student competition requires the students to present their business case in a ‘Dragon’s Den’ style pitch.
British colleges and universities offer some of the best engineering courses in the world, and every year cohorts of intelligent and highly skilled young people graduate and look to make their move into the workforce. It is a competitive field and one with opportunities for lifelong success, but we need to be straightforward with young people about the realities of working as an engineer in the oil and gas industry.
Last year TAU won the business presentation award at Formula Student, beating 107 universities and colleges from around the world. It’s important that the oil and gas industry recognises the importance of mentoring the next generation of engineers beyond the practical aspects of a project. By sharing our knowledge of business, we strengthen the skills of young people and our own industry, which they are aspiring to work in. There are some things that cannot be taught in a lecture hall or training course - it’s up to us bring industry to students and show them the bigger picture.