Banff Academy students call for a common language on oil jobs

An offshore  oil and gas recuitment poster developed by Banff Academy students
An offshore oil and gas recuitment poster developed by Banff Academy students

In our special Young Energy edition of Energy published in March, we reviewed a selection of oil industry recruitment presentations made by schools that took part in a competition run by the Society for Petroleum Engineers and International Coiled Tubing Association.

All the presentations were placed on YouTube. Unfortunately, an early version of the Banff Academy team’s work was posted. In particular it missed out the role Ace Winches played in the project.

Ace has done much to introduce the world of engineering to local schools, not least Banff and Alford Academies.

The Banff team worked hard at building their skills presentation and they were among the competition’s finalists, though they missed out on the main prize.

Courtesy of Ace, Energy was sent their actual PowerPoint presentation. The contents offer a clear demonstration of how young, sharp minds can team up and deliver an excellent piece of work.

The Banff team set out the issues identified clearly and made heavy use of social media to communicate with fellow students.

The task was to find ways of carrying the oil and gas careers message to academy students.

“The oil and gas industry currently has a massive skills shortage,” they said. “We were tasked with designing a new marketing campaign to create interest in the industry within young people.”

Their stated objective was “to enlighten students about the possibilities and the range and spectrum of the oil and gas industry”.

“By the end of the task we would hope to have obtained a number of viable and extensively refined solutions to the problem the industry is currently facing,” they said.

The research methodology was simply and clearly mapped.

“We conducted a survey of our target market ages 14 to 16. We felt that their knowledge of the industry by this age would highlight and show the solution to the industry’s skills lack issue.

“Our research comprised of interviewing both young and old employees in the industry; to ask them their views on the industry and to find out if they see any issues regarding recruitment and so forth and if they see any viable solutions to these issues.”

The results were startling, with more than 75% of participating students replying that they had zero interest in joining the industry.

“We also talked to the human resources manager of Ace Winches,” reported the team. “Again asking if any issues were found in the sector of recruitment.

“As a large company contributing a massive amount to the industry their knowledge would be highly useful.”

During their presentation at the contest final, the Banff team pointed out that, by the age of 16, most school students knew what they wanted to do with their lives.

They found that there was a commonly held view that oil and gas is all about engineering, with not a lot else in career terms to choose from.

“We feel companies need to advertise less well known jobs,” said the Banff team.

They said too that the industry needed to communicate simply.

“Through talking to Ace Winches we found that it can be very confusing in the oil industry due to some unclear job titles, ie – mud engineer.

“We also discovered that different companies use different titles for the same job. So what do we propose to fix this?”

The Banff team offers a solution . . . creation of a common terminology.

“We propose that companies come together and create a universal language which can be used worldwide and is easily understood.

“This language would comprise of simplified (or at least the same) terminology and the same job titles throughout the world. This would make choosing jobs easier and make job changes simpler.

“The best way to create interest in something is to show it to people in real life, however, due to safety and cost implications it would not be possible to do this with oil rigs so instead we propose this.

“We propose building mock-up oil rigs in a totally safe onshore environment. These mock-ups or oil rig simulators would be low cost replicas of real life oil rigs.

“Obviously it would not be feasible to replicate the whole oil rig, for the best effect only the most important parts would be replicated in full, ie the control room, drilling deck, accommodation and entertainment facilities. These simulators could be used for school trips to create in children an interest in the industry from a young age.”

At the actual final, it was clear that the Banff team had also looked overseas for ideas as they pointed to the amazing Oil Museum in Stavanger. There is no such thing in the UK.

Also at the final, the lads presenting said wryly that they had lost a team-mate to the industry.