A survey of school students has revealed that two thirds (67%) believe there is a long-term future in the North Sea oil and gas industry.

The global opportunities the sector offers, its entrepreneurial spirit, high salary expectations and the chance to continue developing skills while working were the main reasons why they would pursue a career in this area.

During the last day of the Offshore Europe exhibition (Friday 11th September) 250 secondary S5 and S6 students from north east Scotland took part in the schools engagement programme managed by Opito – a skills organisation for the oil and gas industry.

As part of the Energise Your Future event, the young people from 17 different academic institutions spent time with companies.

When asked to list the reasons why they are attracted to the sector, 72% said it was down to the global opportunities the industry offers, with 25% also wanting to be part of an international community.

The industry’s entrepreneurial spirit appealed to 17%, with 28% citing the development of cutting edge science of most interest.

Being able to develop their skills and knowledge on the job appealed to 35%, while salary expectation was cited by almost half of those surveyed (48%).

Of the 30% of students who said they didn’t see a long-term future in the industry, 27% were still unsure of which area in the oil and gas sector would best fit with their interests and abilities.

Only 7% believe the industry won’t be around long enough to offer them a future, and a further 7% have been put off by family or friends.

Opito UK managing director John McDonald, said: “The North Sea oil and gas industry needs to continue engaging and inspiring young people to consider the wide range of careers available to them through the diverse network of companies that make up the oil and gas sector.

“The results from the survey tell us that young people in the north-east are enthusiastic about the opportunities the industry presents and want to know more.

“We are very pleased that so many of the Energise Your Future attendees have been able to talk directly with the companies and are now heading back to school with a more focussed approach to their futures in the industry.”

Adrian Witkowski (16), an S5 pupil at St Machar Academy said: “The Energise Your Future event has been really interesting, and it’s really made me think about my future career in the oil and gas industry.”

Kyle Maitland (17), from Mackie Academy, Stonehaven, said: “I’ve gained a better understanding of the oil and gas industry, the jobs available and what companies offer their customers. I’m feeling really inspired about the future of the industry despite the stories you read in the papers.”

Robert Gordon’s College S6 student Abigail Duthie (17), said: “The best thing I’ve found out is that I’m interested in a lot more relevant things to the oil and gas industry than I thought I was.”

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