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STEM in the pipeline welcomes it's latest cohort


More than 100 North-east pupils to put their STEM skills to the test

STEM in the Pipeline: Energising the Transition, which sets school pupils a realistic energy sector challenge, got underway recently with an introduction day at Robert Gordon University. 

The TechFest project welcomed its latest cohort of students at the launch event.

During the course of the project, more than 100 secondary school pupils from 16 secondary schools across the North-east will put their science, technology, engineering and maths knowledge to the test as part of a fictional oilfield project. 

STEM in the Pipeline is sponsored by bp, Harbour Energy, the North Sea Transition Authority and Apache North Sea. The project is also supported by CNOOC International.

Bridging the knowledge gap between education and the energy sector’s workforce, STEM in the Pipeline provides pupils, aged 17-18, with a chance to use knowledge gained in STEM subjects at school to solve TechFest’s energy industry challenge. 

Dr Martha Gavan, deputy managing director of TechFest, said:
“Through STEM in the Pipeline, the young people will work in their teams to apply their skills and knowledge to a real-life situation.
“The introduction day saw the pupils come together for the start of STEM in the Pipeline. During the course of the day, they attended a series of introductory lectures and hands-on practical tasks followed by a practical computer session in the afternoon.

“It was great to see the pupils engaging with the sessions that ran at the introduction event. There was a real buzz at the event as the teams began working together and started to get to grips with the task of producing a field development plan for the recently discovered ‘STEM’ oil field.”

One of the pupils from Inverurie Academy was surprised at the number of young people taking part in STEM in the Pipeline. 

They said:
"There’s so many people here and at the start I was quite nervous but after the first talk I think I am really going to enjoy it.   
“I’m looking forward to seeing what it is really like to do this kind of work.  There are so many girls here - I thought it would be mostly boys and I think that is great.”

The project scope for STEM in the Pipeline: Energising the Transition reflects the energy industry’s continuing transition towards renewable energy sources. The current regulations that companies must adhere to, as well as the efforts being made to lower carbon emissions, are all included in the project framework.

Following the introduction day, the teams will work together, and undertake individual research, to produce a strategic and profitable approach to extracting oil from the field. They are also tasked with finding a way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from their facility. The pupils will receive support and advice from industry mentors.

One of the Bridge of Don Academy pupils was excited about working with a mentor. They said:
“Having someone from the industry who does this kind of stuff everyday will let me see if this is what I want to do.”

A Fraserburgh Academy pupil added:
“Hopefully, this will let me see what it’s really like to work in this sector rather than sitting in a classroom and somebody telling me what it’s like – I can actually do it.”

STEM in the Pipeline runs from September to December. The groups will submit a written report in late November and attend a presentation and prize giving ceremony.

The final will take place in early December at bp’s North Sea headquarters. Each member of the winning team will receive a £30 Amazon voucher. A £20 Amazon voucher will be given to all members of the second-place team.

Pupils completing the STEM in the Pipeline project are eligible to apply for a Silver CREST Award. 

TechFest is an Aberdeen-based charity which aims to engage young people in the four main STEM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) and encourage them to go on to follow a career which utilises these skills by demonstrating that they are both fun and relevant in day-to-day life.  

For more information on TechFest, visit

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