The Society for Underwater Technology (SUT) has pledged further educational funding of up to £50,000 over the next 12 months in order to sustain a high level of offshore oil and gas skills across the global industry.
Around 276 beneficiaries globally have benefited from the Educational Support Fund (ESF) with awards totalling around £750,000. The funding relies entirely on donations from the support of SUT’s individual and corporate members.
The ESF offers sponsorship awards to high-calibre undergraduate and postgraduate students, either starting or continuing a degree which embraces at least one relevant component area of subsea/offshore engineering, marine science, or underwater technology.
Mark Richardson, Apache North Sea’s projects group manager, is a former beneficiary of the funding and believes he would not be where he is without the support of the ESF.
He said: “After leaving the military, I was uncertain about what my next step would be. The funding was invaluable to me advancing with offshore engineering at university. It proved the launch pad for my career, opened so many doors and I would recommend anyone with an interest in the industry to apply.
“I am a great supporter of using my own knowledge and experience in mentoring young people and the SUT is doing a fantastic job re-investing in the next generation.”
Aligned with Offshore Europe’s theme of ‘How to Inspire the Next Generation’, the grants are open to any student, irrespective of age or nationality, for study at any course in the world which is approved by the society. The SUT also encourages entry into the industry at a younger age, with school lectures which are delivered from primary stage through to secondary level.
Stephen Hall, Head International & Strategic Partnerships, National Oceanography Centre, and chair of SUT’s education and training committee said: “We are committed to maintaining high standards in underwater technology and marine science. To sustain the specialised skills needed for this sector, we need to maintain and increase the level of support that will attract the most talented students from around the world. These high-calibre students have a passion to learn and we need to help them realise their fullest potential.”
In addition to the ESF, SUT delivers local funding support initiatives through its international branches. The Houston branch plans to award ten students a share of around £20,000 ($30,000) at its annual Scholarship Fundraising Dinner next month while the Perth branch is building on its 50 student scholarships since 2007, with a further four in the pipeline this year.
Mr Hall added: “The SUT continues to liaise with global academic institutions, with the first student chapter formed at Texas A&M University during the last year. Such liaison has led to a strong, younger generation emerging in the Society across our global branches which inspires new entrants and their development within our industry; an encouragement to us all for the future.
“We also encourage continuous development of skills through a range of training and awareness courses; our Subsea Awareness Course has gained a glowing reputation for its content and delivery around the world.”
The SUT is hosting two deepwater oil and gas technical sessions at Offshore Europe, providing a platform for organisations to demonstrate innovations that are pushing boundaries at new depths.
The first session, ‘New Technologies for Efficiency and Effectiveness’ takes place on Wednesday 9th September from 9.30am to 12.30 pm. The second session, ‘Subsea Challenges for Enabling Deep Water Production’ takes place on Thursday 10th September from 9.30 am to 12.30p m.