Skills for Work: Energy (Girls into Energy [Shell]) is a one-year course for high school pupils, run by Fife College in partnership with energy giants Shell, and Fife Council. The course has been designed to introduce young women in secondary school to the energy industry’s wealth of career opportunities and the benefit of STEM subjects more generally.
It offers the opportunity for students to explore the various UK-based energy industries, and develop practical and employability skills.
We caught up with three students, Kirsty Doyle, Niamh Green, and Emma Harvey, who are about to complete the course to hear their experiences of coming to college while still at school.
Kirsty Doyle, Auchmuty High School
“I was interested in girls into energy because from a young age I always got the impression that only boys could do engineering – so being able to do it with a group of girls and even learn about girls who do engineering was a really interesting option and appealed to me.
“Coming from school to college on a Thursday afternoon has been quite a change for us. Especially because you’re around older people in the College and learning in what seems to be a more mature environment.
“At school, the more Engineering-y subjects tend to be male-dominated and it can be hard to concentrate in school environments. It’s been nice to come to college and study on campus.
“When we’re at college, we do a mix of practical and theoretical work. We’ve been working on assignments on things like oil and gas, renewable energies, and insulation. we’ve also done soldering in the workshop. It’s good to have a mix of theory and practical.
“We’ve also had the opportunity to go on trips as a class group to meet people in the Engineering industry.
“After completing this course, I’m planning to stay on at school into 5th and 6th year. I’d really like to do a Foundation Apprenticeship in Engineering. My overall ambition is become a firefighter.
“What I’d say to other girls who are interested in this course is to definitely try it. There are so many advantages to this course – such as laptops to do the work (which we get to keep if we complete the course) and the trips, but I’d recommend the course mostly because you get to see what Engineering is all about.
“You get to see that, even though it’s still a male-dominated industry, there are females working in Engineering, succeeding in what they’re doing, and doing great work within the industry. It’s given us more of a chance to see ourselves perhaps doing similar in the future.”
Niamh Green, Auchmuty High School
“My dad works offshore in the Engineering industry.
"It was him that pointed me in the direction of the course as a good way to try out the subject.”
Emma Harvey, St Andrews RC High School
“I was keen to do the course on the back of doing some Engineering summer school courses just before it started – and I had a family member complete the course last year.
“I like coming to college because it’s a nice break from the more stressful environment at school. We get a bit more leeway at college to complete tasks the way that works for us best. As long as we’re getting the work done, we can tackle it however we want to. I think it’s a better environment to learn in.
“There are five units we work on over the course. And then, within each unit, there are five assignments. But, within the course, there are also trips to Engineering companies and sites like Mossmoran. We also went up to Aberdeen for the Shell competition. It’s a great mix.
“I’m staying on at school, too, for the next two years. I’m hoping to go on and study biomedical engineering at university.
“My advice to other girls would be, if you see an opportunity like this that you’d like to go for, then do it. If you’re not sure if this is the right industry for you, then this course is perfect to help you decide.”