Students discover career opportunities in East Anglia's energy sector
PUBLISHED: 12:49 14 December 2018 | UPDATED: 16:10 04 November 2019
Young people were brought together with firms from across the energy sector to learn about the jobs available to them now and in the future.
More than 400 students investigating apprenticeships and training found out about the diverse opportunities in offshore wind, oil and gas and nuclear energy.
Twelve schools and colleges across Norfolk and Suffolk sent students aged from 15 to 21 to Skills for Energy 2018 at East Coast College in Great Yarmouth, where more than 25 employers discussed careers with them.
The industry faces a skills shortage as the oil and gas industry goes through a revival thanks to the rejuvenation of gas production in the southern North Sea, offshore wind continues to grow off the Norfolk and Suffolk coast, and the Sizewell C nuclear plant gets closer.
To meet recruitment targets, the industry is focusing on making careers more attractive to new entrants, and particularly to women, who currently make up only 10% of the energy engineering workforce.
Graham Evans, of oil and gas training organisation Opito, said: "With so much high-tech engineering today, engineering is no longer the 'dirty' industry some people think it is. It's all about problem-solving and innovation. But fewer than 10% of engineers in the industry are women and that simply has to change."
There are also opportunities for engineering-based roles in dismantling and removing redundant platforms in the multi-billion decommissioning market in the North Sea.
Billions of pounds are also being invested in offshore wind farms in East Anglia, as the region leads the drive for low-carbon energy.
Gemma Head, manager of the Skills for Energy Programme at EEEGR, said: "What this event demonstrates is the strong partnership between industry and education, sending a united message about opportunities and how young people can access them. Bringing young people to talk to employers face-to-face is the best way for information to be conveyed to them and for relationships to be built.
"The interest of the students has been phenomenal. You can see their eyes light up when they hear about the diverse range of careers offered by the industry."
Exhibitors included offshore wind developers ScottishPower Renewables, Vattenfall and Orsted, turbine manufacturers Siemens, oil and gas operator Perenco, the Engineering Construction Industry Training Board, owners of the world's biggest jack-up vessel Seajacks, 3sun Group, Stowen Group and EDF.