BP-backed education scheme for North east schools

Picture: Colin Hattersley
Picture: Colin Hattersley
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FIVE secondaries in the North east of Scotland are to take part in a pilot educational programme, being backed by one of Britain’s oil majors, which could help tackle the growing skills shortages in the oil and gas sector.

• The scheme will be launched under the ‘Career Academy’

• Secondary pupils will be given access to work experience in the oil and gas industry

• The pupils will also take place in five week paid internships

The innovative scheme is being launched under the “Career Academy”, a programme that has already helped thousands of school pupils across the UK find their right career path, and is being supported by BP.

Under the scheme secondary pupils will be given access to work experience in the oil and gas industry through a structured two-year programme and also take part in five week paid internships.

A spokeswoman for the Career Academy said: “The programme will create an opportunity to raise awareness of career options in the oil and gas sector and support the development of a potential pool of home-based talent to address some of the skills shortage issues.

“Five schools – Gordon Schools Huntly, Peterhead and Portlethen Academies in Aberdeenshire and Oldmachar and Kincorth Academies in Aberdeen - are taking part in the pilot with more schools anticipated to join next year.”

She added: “Ten pupils from each school will begin the programme - which will run alongside their schools studies - in September at the start of their 5th year. They have all been identified as having great potential and are currently ‘middle academic’ achievers planning to sit two to three Highers in 5th year.

“ Over the course of the two years the pupils will benefit from mentoring, motivational lectures and workshops with partners in business such as BP, as well as a five-week paid internship.”

Anne Wexelstein, lead manager for Career Academies UK in Scotland, said: “None of what we do as a business-led charity is possible without the support of organisations like BP. We are delighted to be supported by them in the North east and look forward to working with the industry from whom we have already had a very positive response and desire to be involved.”

Tim Smith, Vice President for Communications and External Affairs for BP commented: “Part of BP’s contribution to secondary education is to help raise the aspirations of young people and help them make informed choices about future career options. Career Academies UK does just that and has the potential to make a real difference to young people in the North east of Scotland.

“We have been delighted at the amount of interest being shown in the programme both by the schools and our colleagues across the oil and gas industry. It is a real example of partnership working at its best and shows what can be achieved when the public, private and charitable sectors work together for the benefit of young people.”

Councillor Ron McKail, vice chairman of Aberdeenshire Council’s Education, Learning and Leisure Committee, praised the pilot scheme. He said: “BP should be commended for setting up this vocational programme where young people can develop appropriate skills to enhance their employment prospects in an industry central to the economy of the North east.”