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Girls in Energy showcases north-east talent


By Lewis McBlane

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A TRIO of pupils from Turriff, Mintlaw and Fraserburgh Academies wowed a VIP judging panel with their pitch.

Simon Roddy, senior vice-president upstream at Shell UK, Kya Duncan from Fraserburgh Academy, Iris Gauld from Turriff Academy, Ella Penny from Mintlaw Academy and MSP Gillian Martin.
Simon Roddy, senior vice-president upstream at Shell UK, Kya Duncan from Fraserburgh Academy, Iris Gauld from Turriff Academy, Ella Penny from Mintlaw Academy and MSP Gillian Martin.

Turriff pupil Iris Gauld was participating in the Girls in Energy conference at the Aberdeen Science Centre and smashed a challenge where her team delivered a Dragon's Den-style pitch.

The team, also including Ella Penny from Mintlaw Academy and Kya Duncan from Fraserburgh Academy, pitched a solution to the cost of living and waste crises.

Their idea, dubbed Musketeers Closet, would let people borrow items of clothing through a membership system.

Aiming to limit waste, costs and single use purchases, the pitch also aimed to spread the message that the best thing to wear is a good attitude.

The panel which judged the pitch a winner included Gillian Martin MSP, Bethan Vasey, energy transition manager at Shell, and Mandy Gloyer, new UK offshore sites manager for renewables at ScottishPower.

Judging panel, Mandy Gloyer, new UK offshore sites manager renewables at ScottishPower, Gillian Martin, MSP and Bethan Vasey, energy transition manager at Shell...Picture: Michal Wachucik/Abermedia.
Judging panel, Mandy Gloyer, new UK offshore sites manager renewables at ScottishPower, Gillian Martin, MSP and Bethan Vasey, energy transition manager at Shell...Picture: Michal Wachucik/Abermedia.

The Girls in Energy conference brought together around 120 women from across the north east last Friday (April 22).

Delivered by a partnership of North East Scotland College (NESCoL) and Fife College and sponsored by Shell, Girls in Energy is a year-long engineering course for 14-17 year olds.

Boosting the prospects of young women in science, technology, engineering and maths, it also encourages young women to consider a career in energy during the shift to net zero.

The scheme runs during the academic year and counts towards an SQA National 5 qualification.

This year, 140 pupils from schools across Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire and Fife are taking part in the programme.

Girls in Energy participants working together to solve challenges...Picture: Jonathan Addie/Michal Wachucik/Abermedia.
Girls in Energy participants working together to solve challenges...Picture: Jonathan Addie/Michal Wachucik/Abermedia.

Simon Roddy, senior vice-president upstream at Shell UK, said: “With our world advancing through myriad developments in science and technology, the ingenuity of our people is playing a vital role in those changes, for example in the transition to a low carbon economy.

"These qualities will be key to the UK’s economic success.

“It is so encouraging to see people taking their first steps to a career in the energy industry – especially young women.

"By linking real life and learning experiences, we aim to nurture the next generation of problem-solvers, leaders and innovators, as well as grow the UK’s skills base and pipeline of scientists and engineers.”

Duncan Abernethy, NESCol’s director of business development, said: “We are incredibly proud of the Shell Girls in Energy programme and the annual conference is an opportunity to showcase the knowledge, innovation and energy of participants from across the region.

“It is also an excellent forum for the College and Shell to underline the commitment to diversity and sustainability that underpins our very successful partnership.

"Girls in Energy provides a well-established pathway to progression in education and employment for participants and the pupils taking part will be central to providing the solutions to future energy challenges that impact upon us all.”

Commenting, Gillian Martin MSP said: “I was delighted to be asked back to the Girls in Energy event once again to join the judging panel.

“We saw some brilliant, innovative ideas put forward by all the young women taking part and it was great to witness their creativity and talent.

“Encouraging girls and young women to take subjects such as Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths is important as they can often be subjects they’re not encouraged towards.

“Programmes like the one run by Shell in partnership with NESCOL and Fife College really encourage young women to consider what opportunities there are for them in sectors such as the energy industry.

“As we look towards a Just Transition it is more important than ever that we have ideas coming forward from young women just like this who have really shown their talent and skills.”

Since being launched in 2010, more than 1000 school pupils have taken part in the programme.

Girls in Energy participants working together to solve challenges...Picture: Jonathan Addie/Michal Wachucik/Abermedia.
Girls in Energy participants working together to solve challenges...Picture: Jonathan Addie/Michal Wachucik/Abermedia.

The modules in the scheme include an introduction to energy, domestic wind turbines and solar hot water systems, employability and careers and oil & gas extraction.

Participants sign up to both 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.

Schools wishing to participate can email: dduncan@nescol.ac.uk

Places are available for the next intake of pupils, for more information visit: https://www.nescol.ac.uk/courses/skills-for-work-national-5-girls-in-energy/


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