A Seismic Shift in Education and Training

The AAPG-YP London Chapter members are heavily involved with the students at local universities and more and more are hearing feedback that employers and graduate programs are asking their applicants to seek exposure and experience with technologies like GIS, data analytics, machine learning and cloud storage. As the integration of information technology and geoscience develops rapidly, and at an accelerating pace, and the old boundary between the two fields becomes increasingly blurred, we see articles discussing topics such as “Big Data” and “The Energy Transition.”

With this evolution comes changes in the skillsets employers require of young professionals. We are moving away from the historical “pure geoscience” approach to education into a much more technology-integrated curriculum. Geoscientists now need to have much more in their toolkit than just a hand lens and rock hammer, and perhaps soon, a fast internet connection and a virtual reality headset might be on the buylists of new graduate students at the start of the academic year. Of course, this change brings with it new and interesting potential career paths as we are also seeing companies such as Google, Microsoft and Amazon begin to enter the realm of the energy industry, bringing with them great leaps forward in data storage and cloud processing capability.

Core Skills for Geoscientists series

In response to this, the AAPG-YP London team created the “The Core Skills for Geoscientists” lecture series, which has run throughout 2019 and is designed to provide young professionals with an introduction to several of these key areas, and also provide networking opportunities and an introduction to some of the key players driving change 2019.

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The AAPG-YP London Chapter members are heavily involved with the students at local universities and more and more are hearing feedback that employers and graduate programs are asking their applicants to seek exposure and experience with technologies like GIS, data analytics, machine learning and cloud storage. As the integration of information technology and geoscience develops rapidly, and at an accelerating pace, and the old boundary between the two fields becomes increasingly blurred, we see articles discussing topics such as “Big Data” and “The Energy Transition.”

With this evolution comes changes in the skillsets employers require of young professionals. We are moving away from the historical “pure geoscience” approach to education into a much more technology-integrated curriculum. Geoscientists now need to have much more in their toolkit than just a hand lens and rock hammer, and perhaps soon, a fast internet connection and a virtual reality headset might be on the buylists of new graduate students at the start of the academic year. Of course, this change brings with it new and interesting potential career paths as we are also seeing companies such as Google, Microsoft and Amazon begin to enter the realm of the energy industry, bringing with them great leaps forward in data storage and cloud processing capability.

Core Skills for Geoscientists series

In response to this, the AAPG-YP London team created the “The Core Skills for Geoscientists” lecture series, which has run throughout 2019 and is designed to provide young professionals with an introduction to several of these key areas, and also provide networking opportunities and an introduction to some of the key players driving change 2019.

We have been very fortunate to have the support of IHS Markit, who have offered to host the lecture series in their state-of-the-art auditorium in central London. We began the series in March with Andrew Davies from Halliburton giving a “state of the industry”-style address that covered an overview of key upcoming basins for frontier exploration, as well as developments in exploration trends and the possibility of a remigration back to deep-water exploration.

Following on from that, in April, Duncan MacGreggor, a consultant and guest lecturer at the University of Royal Holloway, presented a lecture that demonstrated the importance of accurately factoring for heat flow in basin modeling and the common pitfalls associated with it.

In May and June, we began to delve into the more digital side of the industry with Peter Szafian from Geo Teric giving an introduction into machine learning-assisted seismic interpretation and Adam Upson from IHS hosting an interactive workshop on the use of GIS in exploration.

Who knew that an A4 map and a potato would be an excellent way to demonstrate cartographic projections?

Finally, we will close out this year with the prestigious London Petrophysical Society hosting a workshop covering some key aspects of well log interpretation.

One of our driving goals as a YP chapter of a professional society is not just to provide training, but also opportunities for networking and a chance for our members to introduce themselves and have open discussions with some of the most senior consultants and geoscientists working in the industry. As such, all of our talks were followed by an interactive Q&A and networking sessions, which has allowed young people to meet with potential employers and future colleagues.

Evolution and Opportunity

In this new era of increasing integration between information technology and geoscience, the training requirements of YPs are changing. In many cases, existing institutions – both in academia and industry – are struggling to keep up with the evolving demands made by employers. We see that in the changing landscape, a space has opened for existing institutions to step up and fill this gap. We believe that the AAPG, with its global reach, extensive network of highly skilled members and brand recognition, is perfectly positioned to step in and play a central part in training the next generation of tech-savvy geoscientists.

The AAPG-YP London Chapter hopes to repeat the success of the “Core Skills for Geoscientists” lecture series in 2020.

If you would like to get in contact with us, or get involved by attending one of our lectures or networking events, you can find more information by following “AAPGyp London” on both Facebook and LinkedIn.

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