This November, 170 students aged 14-16 from across north-east Scotland came together in Aberdeen for the annual Girls in Energy conference to participate in a Shell NXplorers workshop. Launched in 2010, Girls in Energy is a one-year course exploring the energy industry and some of the most pressing challenges we face in the world today.
To begin the day, the girls heard from Taylor Erridge, a previous Girls in Energy student, who has now begun a career in the energy industry. She began with an internship at Shell in St Fergus, and later went on to study Business Management at the University of Aberdeen, before beginning work in Shell’s Business Development team, looking for funding solutions and opportunities for clients. She advised the girls to take every opportunity they were offered, stay curious and continue to build new skills and nurture relationships.
The theme of the day was ‘think globally and act locally’, and the students were challenged to come up with a local problem and how they could solve it. Their problems were wide-ranging, from how to make energy affordable for the elderly, to how we can reduce Co2 emissions in the community, to how we can reduce food waste.
The winning team, named the Five Musketeers, came up with the problem statement: ‘How can we make food more accessible to all of the community and produce it more locally?’. Their solution was that local authorities should run sessions to teach people how to grow their own produce, alongside funding for seeds/starter plants. By increasing self-sufficiency, food waste would be reduced, there would be less pollution (due to a reduced amount of mass farming and transporting produce), and it would also support community engagement.
In second place were the Energy Influencers, who examined how communities could get more affordable and accessible energy. They proposed that Aberdeen Council award a £50k grant to community projects for taking care of the elderly and those on low incomes, as well as constructing three community wind turbines locally to reduce community energy usage. Their team slogan was ‘powered by wind and driven by change’, which thrilled and inspired everyone there.
All of the teams reported that they worked well together, despite having been strangers at the beginning of the day, and really enjoyed collaborating to come up with solutions. ‘I wasn't very confident to start as I was in a group with no one that I knew, but I learnt how to express my ideas and be more confident.’ - NXplorers student.
The awards were presented by Simon Roddy, Shell UK’s Senior Vice President, who said of the event, “To be here and listen is to be inspired. The future with you is in great hands.”