A teacher’s influence over their school pupils within a classroom environment can determine the career path of a young person one way or another. Teachers are ultimately our mentors who can lead us to aspire to be doctors, lawyers, or even astronauts.
But what about engineers?
The oil and gas industry’s workforce is nearing retirement age and the skills gap is more apparent than ever before. With the field losing out to other powerful industries like IT and software design, we require a new generation of enthusiastic minds to enter the industry with passion and ambition to succeed.
We can’t sit back and wait for the government to address the skills gap – employers have to do something about it. This means engaging with the next generation about a career in the oil and gas industry as a sustainable and rewarding option.
But in order for young people to be fully equipped with the tools to make this career decision, teachers should be their eyes into a dynamic and ever-changing field.
Teachers are absolutely crucial to the decision-making of young, impressionable minds. If teachers were given first-hand work experience in oil and gas, they could relay this back to their pupils and a career in engineering, project management or manufacturing would become more appealing to young people.
School leavers would be much more likely to consider a career in oil and gas if their teachers were equipped with real-life experience of the industry, or even a snippet of the options available in a burgeoning and competitive market.
Ultimately, teachers and educators are essential to promoting the oil and gas sector as an inspiring and exciting field to work in.
People with engineering skills are dwindling at an alarming level.
The Institute of Marine Engineering, Science and Technology has found that 90 per cent of businesses within the maritime and oil and gas market are struggling to recruit professional engineers, 93% believe the sectors are operating within a skills gap market, and 91 per cent of businesses believe they will be adversely affected by the skills gap in the next 12 months.
In this sense, teachers are the crucial link to influence and persuade potential new recruits to join our sector by promoting an industry awash with opportunities to grow and develop, and simultaneously address the skills shortage.
Additionally, it has been forecast that more than 120,000 workers will be required in the UKCS over the next 10 years. This highlights that we need to work harder to attract new talent into the industry.
This should be done by empowering our teachers of today to promote the talent of tomorrow.
Andrew Esson is the managing director of Quick Hydraulics.