GORDON Schools technology teacher Graeme Mitchell escaped from the classroom for a few precious days in December to submerge himself in the world of subsea engineering and well operations with Helix in Aberdeen.
The three-day placement was a response to the Excellence in Education through Business Links initiative by Careers Scotland to promote engineering and science in schools.
The initiative aims to help improve teachers’ knowledge and understanding of industry sectors such as offshore oil&gas, of which subsea is an important part, and to promote the array of employment and training opportunities it offers young people.
A handful of science and technology teachers from across Aberdeen City and Shire have taken part in the Helix (through subsidiaries Canyon Offshore and Wellops) scheme, which sees them spend two to three days with subsea oil&gas firms as a way of gaining first-hand experience of the skills, knowledge and behaviours required in various working environments in the energy sector.
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.
While Helix is a global operation, Graeme Mitchell’s placement saw him working with a team of engineers at Wellops and Canyon Offshore in Aberdeen, getting to grips with technologies such as remotely operated underwater vehicles (ROVs) and well intervention equipment.
Of his experience with the Helix group, Graeme said: “If the youngsters at school show an interest in engineering, I can now help answer questions they may have and share my own experiences of the placement.
“Hand on heart, every single effort was made by everyone that I spoke to at Helix to make me feel really welcome, even although their daily business had to be attended to at the same time. It has been a very positive experience for me.”