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Winning Pupils Put School Based Learning Into Action

Winning Pupils Put School Based Learning Into Action

Meldrum Academy scoops STEM in the Pipeline challenge for 2023


Senior pupils from Meldrum Academy have won TechFest’s annual STEM in the Pipeline – Energising the Transition competition after impressing judges with their solutions to an energy transition challenge.

The Reservoir Raiders team from Robert Gordon’s College in Aberdeen was named as runner-up while Inverurie Academy’s Neutroil team was given the innovation award.

Groups of pupils from 11 schools visited bp’s North Sea headquarters in Aberdeen yesterday (Wednesday, December 6) to demonstrate their physics, maths, chemistry and geology skills to a panel of industry experts.The winning team was Meldrum Academy Power Solutions (MAPS), made up of S6 pupils Jack Somerville, Oliver

Rudeck and Finn Hilton, all aged 17.

The judges praised the team’s “real clarity of purpose” and deep understanding of the brief, saying they showed “excellent technical knowledge.

Jack said: “Working together to plan the project has been really good. It has given us a deep insight into the oil and gas industry. It was really useful to have industry mentors to support us and make sure we were on the right track. It has opened new doors to a potential new career and new opportunities so it has been a great experience.”

The team constructed a 3D model of the fictional oilfield and used the data to determine how much oil was in the reservoir, then worked on an economically viable plan to extract the oil.

STEM charity TechFest tasked the participating pupils with taking on a realistic energy industry challenge. The aim of the project was to help the pupils develop valuable skills while also giving them an insight into the energy sector.

Dr Martha Gavan, deputy managing director of TechFest, said: “Teams of secondary school pupils from 12 schools from across the North-east were challenged to put their science, technology, engineering and maths knowledge to the test as part of a fictional oilfield project. 

“The aim of the STEM in the Pipeline initiative is to bridge the knowledge gap between education and the energy sector’s workforce. It provides pupils with a chance to use knowledge gained in STEM subjects at school to solve our energy industry challenge.”

Sponsored by bp, Harbour Energy, the North Sea Transition Authority and Apache North Sea, STEM in the Pipeline also encourages volunteer mentors from the industry to share their expertise with pupils. The project is also supported by CNOOC International. 

Many volunteers gave their time to the project, which saw pupils from Aberdeen Grammar School, Albyn School for Girls, Banchory Academy, Ellon Academy, Hazlehead Academy, Kemnay Academy, Lochside Academy, Meldrum Academy, Robert Gordon’s College and two teams from both Cults Academy and Inverurie Academy taking part.

Barry Nicol of Harbour Energy found the experience of mentoring one of the teams to be really encouraging. 

He said “Mentoring a team on the STEM in Pipeline initiative has been very rewarding. It’s been encouraging to help the next generation and develop partnerships with them. It has also been encouraging to see their hard work and commitment to the project, taking it on alongside their continuing studies.

“I was also impressed with the way they developed their ideas and adapted them over the course of the project.”

The teams of up to six pupils, aged 17-18, were tasked with producing a field development plan for the recently discovered ‘STEM’ oil field. 

As well as coming up with a strategic and profitable approach to extracting oil from the field, the teams were also tasked with devising a plan to reduce greenhouse emissions from their facility.

Dr Gavan added: “STEM in the Pipeline is an amazing experience for the young people who take part in it. Because it runs over three months it gives them an extended period during which to apply their skills and learning to a real-life scenario.

“We have been very impressed by the young peoples’ attitude and commitment to STEM in the Pipeline. They recognise that the initiative provides them with an opportunity to apply their knowledge to a real-life project, this gives them unparalleled insight into the variety of roles that STEM subjects can lead to.”

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.

Doris Reiter, Senior Vice President, bp North Sea, said: “Building a better energy future depends on developing exceptional talent with the skills in science, technology, engineering, and maths to unlock transformative solutions. 

“That’s why bp is delighted to continue supporting events such as STEM in the Pipeline, which provides insight into the exciting breadth of career opportunities the sector offers. 

“It was fantastic to welcome a hive of talented young minds to our North Sea headquarters to showcase their ingenuity. Congratulations to all the students involved.” 

Each member of the winning team received a £30 Amazon voucher each while those in the second-place team were presented with a £20 Amazon voucher.

Pupils completing the STEM in the Pipeline project are also 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 www.techfest.org.uk

Read the latest issue of the OGV Energy magazine HERE

Published: 07-12-2023

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