DYCE Academy Pupils Crowned Energy Apprentice Winners at SPE Aberdeen Conference
Guest Blog by Rene Flores, Energy Education Specialist
One of the great things about my role with Energy4me is the opportunity to share stories with you about student and teacher energy education workshops and competitions from SPE sections all around the world. This story comes all the way from Aberdeen, Scotland, where students from Dyce Academy were crowned winners of the Intervention and Coil Tubing Association (ICoTA) and SPE Energy Apprentice competition recently. A big congrats to them!
What interests me most are the international efforts of individuals and companies that devote their time and energy (pun intended!) to inspire the younger generation through these types of competitions. The competition is designed to improve awareness of career opportunities within the industry and search for the creative thinkers of tomorrow. How you ask? The challenge to student teams was to come up with an idea that carries the industry into the next century, by improving the extraction of North Sea Oil (a topic the city is widely known for.)
Now, I have to extend kudos to the other three school finalists before going any further, they are Cults, Kemnay, and Westhill Academies. Kemnay Academy was runner-up and Highly Commended by the judging panel for their downhole remotely operated vehicle (ROV) idea that improves access to oil reservoirs. Keep in mind the four schools mentioned were selected finalists teams and range from 14 to 18 in age.
The winning idea, Catalyst in Well Regeneration Project, in theory could allow oil companies to extract significantly more oil from existing wells and was praised for originality and practicality. After a short demonstration of lab experiments and presentation results the Dyce Academy team claimed between 75-95% of reserves could be extracted.
All students who took part were presented with a pen and certificate to mark their achievements and given access to the SPE ICoTA European Well Intervention Conference exhibit floor to mingle with leading figures in the industry. The winning school was awarded iPads and a small stipend to spend on school equipment.
ICoTA chairman, Callum Munro, added that he hoped the award would encourage young people to pursue a career within the industry saying, “What we hoped and what I believe we have achieved with The Energy Apprentice is to highlight the opportunities within the energy sector to young people. We are in the midst of a big skills shortage in the industry, so if we can get young people interested and engaged now it will ensure that the future is secure.”
As a former classroom teacher, I have always enjoyed the process of students learning to think, analyze, and collaborate with their peers to help solve a specific problem or project. When done effectively, the end result can be seen by the sense of accomplishment and excitement displayed by the students. This is a defining moment for any teacher because you know self-discovery and true learning has taken place. For the students of Dyce, Cults, Kemnay, and Westhill Academies, this workshop competition provided that opportunity.