AN OIL and gas leader wants to fuel the imagination of young people studying science by highlighting opportunities for them in the industry.
David Doig, chief executive of OPITO – the Oil & Gas Academy, has pledged to take action to address findings in a new report entitled Learning to Love Science: Harnessing Children’s Scientific Imagination.
The study conducted for Shell Education Service by the chemical industry education centre at York University revealed that Scotland could be losing a potential pool of 5,500 gifted scientists every year.
Mr Doig believes that industry and education must do more to encourage young people to pursue science subjects through the promotion and education of career and job opportunities.
The report found that young people often misunderstood the variety of science-related careers and did not have a practical understanding of what different job roles entailed. The poll of Scottish nine to 14-year-olds found that, although 33% were inspired by science, many did not pursue the subject beyond the age of 16.
Mr Doig said: “Our industry is crying out for engineers. To bridge the gap we need more young people with science-related subjects coming into the sector and to achieve that we must fuel the imagination of young people with the exciting and rewarding opportunities available in the global oil and gas industry.
“The academy is working in collaboration with education and academia to inject practical and relevant industry-based learning into the curriculum.”
The subsea sector is one area in oil and gas that has been working to capture young people’s imagination.
Subsea UK, the body which champions the subsea sector, has instigated initiatives with pupils, teachers and employers to promote the sector and its technology.
Chief executive David Pridden said: “Our industry must engage more meaningfully with school kids. While Subsea UK has made inroads into this engagement process, I believe we still require a national programme supported by industry, government and academia before we will see any real success.”