BP has been supporting the teaching and learning of STEM for 50 years but this year particularly, we are celebrating engineering careers and the dedicated engineers we have working within BP. By connecting these engineers with young people we can inspire students and show them the breadth of opportunities that lie ahead for them in their future – we call these STEM inspiration days and will host five across the UK this year in support of the UK Government’s Year of Engineering 2018 campaign.
At our Technology Centre in Pangbourne local students from Langtree Secondary School came to the site to learn about the engineering and technology that goes into fuel and lubricant development. Aged 12-13 they all had some idea of engineering careers and when asked to do an A-Z of engineering careers they showed that they could come up with 8 to 10 engineering-based careers. They were very surprised to find out that there are engineering jobs starting with 23 different letters of the alphabet that were being advertised at BP alone on that day! (X, Y and Z were the tricky ones – let us know if you can come up with engineering roles for them!)
In Pangbourne, where both technical and marketing expertise is widely represented, volunteers brought the product development process to life and showed the young people how scientific and creative disciplines work together to create successful, world-class products. The students took a tour around the laboratories and the engine testing rooms to understand the technical rigour that goes into developing a new product. They saw new fuels and lubricants being tested and analysed then heard from marketers how the technical claims of a new product can be used to build the associated marketing messages and brand awareness.
Our engineers, chemists, technicians and marketers have come into BP from a wide variety of previous roles and educational paths so they were able to speak to the students about a really broad set of career pathways. But the one thing that connects them is a real passion for their job and this was demonstrated during the panel discussion – where 3 volunteers answered questions from the students. Questions as varied as ‘What is it like to be a female in a technical environment?’, ‘How can you move from a technical to a marketing career within BP?’, and ‘Where do you see yourself in 5 years’ time?’, were all enthusiastically answered by the panel showing that there was a flexibility and breadth to engineering careers that the students hadn’t been aware of previously.
It was the F1 trackside support engineers that really inspired the students though! With their demonstration of a real F1 car powered by BP fuels and lubricants, their branded body-warmers and their huge passion for their subject – essentially making fast things go even faster! – they proved that a childhood dream of a career in F1 racing is attainable through a STEM career.
At BP we are passionate about engineering and the importance of developing the next generation of engineers. We know that engineering is diverse, innovative and essential to the development of our future and the Year of Engineering helps us to amplify this message. In collaboration with other businesses and sectors, we are delighted to reach out to a wider audience of young people to inspire and energise them. We are proud to be able to support the campaign in this way and convey the dual messages of diversity and innovation that, together, will power the developments of the future.
The Year of Engineering launched in January 2018. To celebrate the announcement, Year of Engineering partners are highlighting some of the many different ways that individuals and organisations can #inspireanengineer on social media – follow the hashtag on Twitter to find out more. You can also visit the Year of Engineering partner website for more information.