Along with the rest of the world, the AAPG-YP London Chapter did not escape the repercussions of the gloomy pandemic; adapting to the virtual world was necessary. On our end, this meant continuing to fulfill the promises made to young graduates and professionals: providing them with the support and knowledge of industry professionals and outlining the job opportunities still available out there.
In the “normal” world, attending a career fair has always been a top priority for any graduating geoscientist, especially in these challenging times for the industry when many jobs have been cut off. On the other hand, many new jobs have sprung up with the energy transition. What are the transferable skills? Is it still worthwhile to get a master’s degree in an oil and gas-related field? Is it still possible to have a career in oil and gas?
These were just some of the vital and timely questions raised at the virtual career fair organized in December by the YP London Chapter members.
Virtual Career Fair
Over the last seven years, the AAPG-YP London Chapter hosted numerous career fairs at two prestigious London universities: Imperial College and Royal Holloway, mainly targeting petroleum geosciences students.
This year, the team took a great leap forward and adjusted to the situation by not only organizing an online career fair, but also offering presentations that emphasized energy career pathways. We were also fortunate to have five speakers with diverse energy backgrounds. David Gilchrist, manager at KPMG within the Technology Strategy Team kicked off the talk with an overview of the pros and cons of working for a consultancy firm. He was followed by Ross McTeir, an exploration geoscientist at Shell, Shereen Nairne, a geoscientist at Woodside Energy, Rebecca Paisly, an exploration geochemist at Cornish Lithium and Rodrigo Oropeza, from Pale Blue Dot. They all not only shared their journeys and accomplishments, but also the challenges and choices they had to make each step of the way.
The broadening of topics was not the only upgrade to this year’s session. Doing it online enabled us to hit an all-time high number of attendees from a wide range of locations. Roughly 50 people from Mexico, India, Nigeria, France, Switzerland and the Netherlands logged in. We managed to reach students that might have never had the opportunity to attend an industry technical talk or career fair. Looking at the stats, we were pleased to see that not only petroleum geologists had registered but also petroleum engineers, specialists in subsurface energies systems and in geographic information systems. The diversity in the technical backgrounds of the attendees reflected perfectly the current market as well as the transition that the industry is currently going through.
The Future of the Virtual World?
A year ago, we were sent home in order to limit our physical interactions. Yes, we certainly miss a good handshake at an interview or being able to approach a potential recruiter at an event, and don’t get me started on after-work hangouts. Recognizing all this, though, hasn’t it also opened a new world of opportunity? Today we can attend a meeting, an event or an interview all from the comfort of our own sofa.
When life returns to “normal”, attending a talk would be so much more convenient if all we had to do is to click on a button. Isn’t it a blessing to be able to attend an event taking place at the other end of the world by simply signing up online?
Taking the YP London Chapter as an example, two new non-UK-based recruits have been added to the team. Would that have been an option if the world was functioning normally? Perhaps, but going digital certainly made it easier.
Currently, being in the industry is more challenging than ever, especially for the younger generation. In the last year, the price of crude oil reached an all-time low and the energy transition has been accelerated. Yet, it has allowed students and professionals to function in a different way, a digital way. This might be exactly what we need to overcome and adapt to the fast-paced and ever-changing industry.
Going forward, the digital format of events is worth repeating in order to target a wider audience. The YP London Chapter has more tricks up its sleeve for the coming year and will continue to make sure that all events, workshops and talks remain as diverse as possible and that online options are still on the table, even when the earthquake has passed and the Brent climbs back.