Engineering through the eyes of the next generation
In the era of energy transition, I stepped into my new role as Events & Engagement Manager at The Oil & Gas Technology Centre (OGTC) with no previous sector experience, but bags of enthusiasm to learn all things energy and its evolution!
Not only would the OGTC be celebrating its third birthday in 2020, I quickly learned it was a year with big goals. On day two of my OGTC journey, my first project awaited me… the brief…
‘Create the OGTC’s biggest ever STEM event and inspire the next generation of engineers!’
Wow – this was a challenge I could really get into!
Off I went to reflect on my experiences as a child and recalled visits to The Satrosphere many moons ago. What activities was I drawn too? How inspired was I by technology? What did technology and engineering mean to me?
STEM, to me, was the accumulation of lots of powerful messages and actions. Inspire, stimulate, spark imagination, support creativity, whilst getting hands on and working together to discover solutions to problems.
Drawing on these reflections and with the brief in mind, I created the Titan II STEM experience and collaborated with RS components and Albyn School to bring the innovation truck to the North East. This all came to life on Monday 3rd February 2020, which saw us visited by over 200 pupils from three local schools.
So what is the Titan experience?
The Titan innovation truck is packed with the latest immersive technologies, which help spark imagination. Throughout the experience pupils participated in three technology taster sessions, each lasting 30-minutes: testing their imagination with virtual reality games; discovering 3D printing and prototypes; learning about robotics and drones; changing the tire of a Greenpower race car; and while at the OGTC they worked in teams to build K’Nex oil rig structures and programmed Mindstorm robots - working alongside the Aberdeen Science Centre and TechFest, we really did inspire the pupils (and the adults for that matter!).
Through a child’s eyes…
As a child I don’t remember being so knowledgeable about technology and what was going on in the world around me like young people are today. I was incredibly inspired by the pupils I engaged with on this experience. They were full of ideas, keen to push the limits of their imagination to try new things, in addition to showcasing strong communication skills working in teams to achieve something.
This inspirational experience has changed my perception of STEM now – it means so much more!
The shift from a male dominated industry to a more equal playing field can be realised through the next generation. So many girls on the trip explained that engineering to them is an exciting job prospect.
One of my favourite quotes of the day was from a pupil when asked what innovation meant to her:
“Innovation to me is about solving problems and creating a better world to live in”
This really struck me. There is real shift in stereotypes and girls have ambitious aspirations for future careers.
The energy sector affects so much more than I appreciated in my day to day life out with my husband going to work on an oil platform in the North Sea and coming home. What I have learnt so far is that the energy sector has the huge responsibility and pledge to society to inspire the next generation of engineers. The Oil & Gas Technology Centre has a vibrant STEM focus, with big goals in mind. We have a caring and passionate STEM team ready to inspire and deliver these BIG goals. Watch this space...