A BP-backed scheme being piloted in the north-east aims to encourage more young people to choose a career in oil and gas.
North Sea bosses say the idea could help to address skill shortages by showing pupils how the subject choices they make can be transferred into careers in oil and gas.
Five secondary schools are taking part in the pilot: Huntly, Peterhead and Portlethen academies in Aberdeenshire and Oldmachar and Kincorth academies in Aberdeen. More schools are expected to come on board after the Career Academies UK project – being led in the north-east by Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire councils, with support from BP – gets rolled out next year.
Ten pupils from each school will begin the programme, which will run alongside their studies, in September at the start of their fifth year. They have all been identified as having great potential and are planning to sit two or three highers: at least one in science, technology, engineering or mathematics.
Over two years, the pupils will benefit from mentoring, motivational lectures and workshops plus a five-week paid internship. In many cases, the project will help youngsters from areas where there is limited family history of higher education, little awareness of career options or a limited network of support to help them achieve their goals.
Malcolm Webb, chief executive at industry body Oil and gas UK, said: “We must pull out all the stops to ensure school children and university students are aware of the exciting and challenging opportunities the sector offers . . . so that we have the skilled people required to develop oil and gas for decades to come.”
Larraine Boorman, managing director of industry skills body Opito, added: “We have helped shape this exciting project from the beginning and are delighted it is now coming to fruition.”