Girls in Energy tackle sustainability challenges at annual conference

November 25, 2022

Girls from across the North-east and Fife have been tasked with finding innovative solutions to food, water or energy related challenges today as part of the annual Girls in Energy conference.

Girls in Energy is a year-long engineering course for 14 to 16-year-olds, sponsored by Shell and delivered in partnership by NESCol and Fife College.

It has been specifically designed to encourage young women to engage in the STEM subjects of science, technology, engineering and maths, and to consider a career in the global energy sector as it transitions towards net zero.

Today’s conference, which is being hosted by Shell Woodbank in Aberdeen, is being attended by around 170 girls from across the city, Aberdeenshire and Fife.

The day will use learnings from NXplorers, Shell’s global community of educators, experts and students, which encourages fresh ways of thinking by framing a problem differently.

Throughout the day the girls will work in small teams to brainstorm ideas and potential solutions to sustainability challenges.

Each team will be supported by mentors, including volunteers from Shell, NESCol and Scottish Power, as well as footballer Loren Campbell, captain of the Aberdeen FC Women team.

Following presentations, four teams will be chosen to go forward to a Dragon’s Den style competition, pitching their ideas to a panel of judges.

The panel will include Maggie McGinlay, chief executive of ETZ Ltd, Dr Anita Singh, senior lecturer and academic team lead at Aberdeen Business School at Robert Gordon University, and Denise Neill, deputy project director of Shell’s Floating Offshore Wind joint ventures. Prizes will be presented by Simon Roddy, senior vice-president upstream at Shell UK.

Simon Roddy, senior vice-president upstream at Shell UK said: “Skills development and the creation of jobs which reflect advancements in science, technology and the energy transition are key parts of Shell’s ambitions to 2030, which aim to help accelerate the UK’s path to net zero and ensure security of energy supply.

“We are working with partners across the UK and investing in new skills to match the demands needed for the energy transition so projects like Girls in Energy provide a valuable insight into the industry and will hopefully encourage more young women to choose this exciting career path. I am looking forward to hearing the teams’ new ideas and solutions at the conference.”

Duncan Abernethy, NESCol’s Director of Business Development, said: “The Shell Girls in Energy Programme continues to go from strength to strength, providing a fantastic pathway for participants who are keen to embrace opportunities in education and employment. It is an incredibly successful industry partnership and one we’re very proud of.

“The energy sector is evolving at pace to provide solutions to global challenges and will rely on the expertise, energy and ingenuity of the next generation. Through the focus on diversity and sustainability, Girls in Energy has a crucial role to play in driving positive change.”

The Girls in Energy programme was launched in 2010 and since then, more than 1,000  school pupils have taken part in the programme, with many of those going on to pursue STEM-related or energy sector careers.

It runs as part of the academic year and provides young women with real-life experience of working in the energy industry while also working towards an SQA National 5 qualification.

This year, over 170 pupils from schools across Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire and Fife are taking part in the programme.

Modules include an introduction to energy, domestic wind turbines and solar hot water systems, employability and careers and oil and gas extraction.

Participants sign up to a mix of theory and workshop study as well as industry visits, with the opportunity to chat to women who are working in different roles in the oil and gas and renewables sectors.

Every year, following an interview and selection process, 20 students are offered a two-week industry experience placement with Shell in Aberdeen, giving them the opportunity to hear at first-hand about the various roles which support Shell’s upstream business.

It has also committed to supporting 15,000 people into jobs, with a particular focus on the energy transition.

For more information visit Shell UK or click here for NESCol course information.