What is the role of Young Professionals in the Energy Transition?
By Rain Crowson, Group Marketing and Sales Executive
16 November 2021
I attended a thought-provoking webinar on Tuesday this week organised by SPE. The topic was the Role of Young Professionals in the Energy Transition.
A few take-aways from my side:
1. Digital innovation has an important role to play in energy transition more than ever
There are huge synergies between data science and the energy transition. Digital innovation has transformed every other industry and the energy sector is no different.
The next generation of engineering talent needs to utilise digital tools and technologies alongside our existing knowledge of the industry to understand how to do our jobs smartly and effectively.
The energy transition will open huge opportunities for young talent in hydrocarbons, groundwater, storage and mining to name but a few subsectors. The energy sector overall requires real world, foundational engineering, involving sensors, data interpretation, and machine learning to achieve the kind of efficiencies that the market needs. Young engineers are very well placed to help drive the change we need.
2. The energy transition is important but producing oil and gas right now to serve existing demand is more important
We need to strike a balance between energy demand and global climate goals. Investing in talent just for the energy transition itself isn’t the solution. We must attract talent now by giving young engineers the opportunity to grow and have a long-term career to support a more equitable energy sector.
The oil and gas industry has been operating in a certain way over many decades. We need to welcome change in the form of new technologies such as Hydrogen and CCUS. This is going to require foundational engineering from young talent to make the process safer, more accessible, and efficient.
3. Companies need to create interesting and challenging experiences for young talent
It’s an exciting time for energy right now, which opens huge opportunities for young talent to be creative. The challenges found right across the energy industry allow young engineers to grow and learn. Companies must allow them to be involved and share their knowledge even if they are just several years into their careers.
The skills for so much of this are already possessed by the oil and gas industry’s technical base, which needs to be re-directed to nurturing new talent as well as technical solutions.
4. Service companies have a major role throughout the process
We are currently faced with a large quantity of existing, ageing assets – the aim is to develop and implement technology to enhance efficiency – a word that keeps cropping up. We must maintain effective operations that are efficient in terms of both costs and which are environmentally-sound.
5. Find an employer that will help you learn and fulfil your career objectives
My company Alderley SMS continues to help me grow my career. In my two years at the company, they have given me considerable responsibility as well as the opportunity to take ownership of projects and voice my views.
Speaking from personal experience, it can be difficult as a young professional to gain respect from your colleagues and having the opportunity to share your opinion. Yet, Alderley has always encouraged me to get involved and learn by including me in numerous projects – even if it’s just to gain an insight of different departments and stakeholders across the business. Therefore, all these pillars that I’ve highlighted above really resonate with me.
I’d like to thank the speakers at the SPE webinar for their insights, which have contributed to me drafting the piece above. Thanks to Siddharth Jain, Siddharth Misra and Manisha Bhardwaj for sharing your views.