Industry careers in the spotlight

A new DVD series is drawing young people's attention to careers they may not have considered, Judy Mackie writes

Lizzie Paton is a young graduate reliability engineer with Shell UK. Her work takes her to oil and gas installations offshore and she is looking forward to working in Shell locations overseas. Home is a smart city-centre flat and her pride and joy is an Audi TT.

James Taylor and Alex Bruce are school leavers on a gap year with the oil and gas maintenance and inspection services company RBG. They are earning a good salary while literally learning the ropes: abseiling skills are required for offshore maintenance and inspection work.

The friends plan to go to university to study mechanical engineering and electrical engineering respectively. All going well, they can look forward to holiday work with RBG and the prospect of a full-time job with the company on completion of their courses.

Lizzie, James and Alex appear in two case studies in the first of a series of Industry Spotlight careers information DVDs and a website launched this month by JAB Recruitment of Dundee. The DVD gives a comprehensive overview of the energy industry, the diversity of jobs and the excellent terms enjoyed by employees.

Simon and Neal, the two other young people profiled, work for oil and gas specialist service companies Acergy and Senergy. A further 10 energy sector companies feature in the DVD, which also explains the qualifications and qualities required for key engineering and non-engineering jobs within the sector. The website has a salaries matrix and gives links to universities and colleges offering courses in relevant subjects.

"The website is brilliant," says Kate Wood, an S6 student at Arbroath Academy in Angus, who was among pupils and teachers attending the Industry Spotlight launch in Aberdeen.

"It pulls everything together and saves you having to visit lots of individual websites for information about jobs, qualifications and courses," says Kate.

"It's interesting to hear people near our own age speaking about their jobs," says fellow student Amy Bolland, who plans to study mechanical engineering at Strathclyde University. "I didn't know about The Year in Industry agency and I think it's a great idea to take a year out before you go to university, while staying connected with what you want to do as a career."

Graeme Kiddie, the principal teacher of guidance at Braeview Academy in Dundee, is impressed by the number of opportunities available in the energy industry, not only to graduates, but also to school leavers.

"There are options for a wide variety of academic levels, so those who had written off the industry because they didn't think they were brainy enough will see there are avenues for them too."

David Innes, a depute headteacher of Westhill Academy in Aberdeenshire, says the resource provides interesting role models and career pathways information that would enhance his school's existing careers activities.

Universities, colleges and all secondary schools in Scotland will receive copies of the Energy DVD as a result of substantial private sector sponsorship and the backing of the Scottish Executive.

The UK oil and gas industry was a natural first choice for the Industry Spotlight series, with the severe shortage of home-grown engineering and science skills and a future spanning at least another 30 years of North Sea exploration and production and a further 20 years of decommissioning. At the launch, senior managers of the main sponsor companies spoke about the need to attract and retain quality recruits to a globally expanding industry.

Future DVDs will focus on other sectors important to the Scottish economy, including construction, finance, tourism, digital media and biomedical sciences. Year in Industry,

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