Aberdeen students decide on career after ‘Girls in Energy’ event

Two Aberdeenshire students have praised the Shell -backed (LON: SHEL) Girls in Energy program for helping them decide what they want to do after school.

Girls in Energy is a year-long engineering course for 14 to 16-year-olds and is carried out in partnership with North East Scotland College (NESCol) and Fife College.

The course has been 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.

Two young women that have taken part in the course, Huntly-based member of the 2021/22 cohort Issy Dougherty and Mintlaw Academy student Kate Selman who is one of the 2022/23 students, shared how the course has had an impact on them.

Fourteen-year-old Kate was always curious about chemical engineering, having grown up in a house where both parents are engineers, but until recently she was keeping her options open.

“Before I started Girls in Energy I didn’t really know if I wanted to follow the same path as my mum and dad but having taken the course it has really helped me to see that I do want to become a chemical engineer. The things we do on the course are so interesting, and I have really enjoyed it,” she said.

“I’ve spoken to both my parents about it, and they showed me the things I could be doing. I’ve been to my dad’s office, and it made me think that I could be working here when I’m older and I would love to do that.”

© Supplied by Girls in Energy
Girls in Energy student Kate Selman.

The 16-year-old Gordon’s School student Issy said she only took the course to fill gaps in her timetable and now she looks to pursue a career in the energy sector.

Issy’s mum and grandparents introduced her to renewable energy when they built a 6.9-Megawatt windfarm from scratch on their family farm that now provides enough energy to power nearly 4000 homes.

“Before the course, I wanted to go into art. I was thinking about doing graphic design but after taking the course and realizing this is a subject I’m really interested in, I’m considering pursuing something environmental, maybe research related,” she said.

“I decided to take higher geography in sixth year because my qualifications weren’t quite right for the course I was looking into. I’m thinking of going to college to study Environmental Management because of the Girls in Energy course.”

What is Girls in Energy?

Launching in 2010, more than 1,000 school pupils have taken part in the program. This year, more than 170 pupils from schools across Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire and Fife are taking part in the programme.

The course gives its participants real-life experience of working in the energy industry while they work towards an SQA National 5 qualification.

Modules include an introduction to energy, domestic wind turbines and solar hot water systems, employability and careers and oil and gas extraction and include a mix of theory and workshop study as well as industry visits.

The course recently held its annual conference at Shell Woodbank in Aberdeen, there girls worked in small teams to brainstorm ideas and potential solutions to sustainability challenges with each group supported by an industry mentor.

Four teams then went on to pitch their concepts in a dragon’s den-style competition, presenting to representatives of industry and academia.

Applications for the 2023/24 course are now open.

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