Russ Thorne pinpoints lucrative challenges in oil and gas
The challenges facing the oil and gas industry come in all shapes and sizes, from the search for sustainable technologies to the increased number of icebergs threatening North Sea drilling operations. All need solutions, so those students looking to gain postgraduate qualifications in the field could find their skills in demand once they graduate.
"The industry is currently going through a period of unprecedented change with thousands of new jobs likely to be created over the coming years," explains Sarah Beacock FEI, professional affairs director of the Energy Institute (energyinst.org), the professional body for the industry. "Taking on these challenges requires well-qualified scientists and engineers with a holistic approach to identifying sustainable solutions."
Universities offering relevant courses include Coventry (MSc in oil and gas management), Aberdeen (MSc in energy futures and MSc in oil and gas enterprise management), Cranfield (MSc in offshore and ocean technology and MSc in welding engineering) and the Robert Gordon University (MSc qualifications in drilling and well engineering, petroleum production engineering and oil and gas engineering).
As with other professional industries (such as engineering or accountancy) many courses are accredited by an industry body, such as the Energy Institute, which moves students closer to chartered status when they complete their studies. "Membership of a professional body is a valuable asset," says Beacock. "It provides immediate opportunities for networking and keeping skills up to date to support your career." See energyzone.net for a list of accredited courses in the UK.
In addition to technical roles, there will also be the need for managerial and business-focused personnel, meaning MBA qualifications could be attractive options for students. For example, Robert Gordon University (RGU) offers an MBA in oil and gas management that aims to enhance the skills of those already working in the industry. "Graduates leave with a qualification which will truly enhance their employability," says Madeleine Marcella, from the RGU business school. "Many of our courses have been developed in direct response to industry demand."
To be accepted onto a course, students will generally need a first degree in a related subject, such as geography, geology or engineering; for MBAs, relevant professional experience is also required. …