Oil and gas careers aren’t just for boys … but you knew that already. OPITO, the skills and standards body for the oil and gas sector, wants to spread the word in the UK – an area that historically has been behind the curve in regard to women representation in engineering – and they’ve done so by throwing support to the UK Government campaign: Not Just For Boys. The campaign, which has garnered an entire social media hashtag #NotJustForBoys, was created to dispel myths about “men-only” industries and inspire the rise of women across a range of business sectors.
The Not Just For Boys campaign, created by The Department for Work and Pensions, targets young girls, recent graduates, professional women and women returning to the workforce.
“Through the #NotJustForBoys campaign, we want to energize young girls and support more women to make the choices that are right for them, and have the security of a regular wage in an industry that’s driving Britain’s growth,” UK Employment Minister Esther McVey said in a prepared statement.
The campaign is still in its early phases, but response has been positive, according to Morven Spalding, skills director for OPITO UK.
“This is a campaign which resonates with a lot of the work we are doing to address challenges within the oil and gas industry around the attraction and development of women,” Spalding told Rigzone. “By supporting the initiative, we hope to encourage more female representation in both on and offshore oil and gas jobs. Energy isn’t a ‘men-only’ sector; it requires intelligent, motivated and skilled people regardless of gender.”
The campaign seems to be gaining traction.
During OPITO’s National Oil and Gas Week last November, 80 events took place across the UK with participation from more than 45 different oil and gas companies, educational establishments and energy bodies. More than 1,000 individuals per day attended events at various locations between Aberdeen and London.
“The #NotJustForBoys campaign will highlight the choices that women have in a modern-day workforce, some of which even current professional women may not have considered,” Spalding added. “We also need to make sure young girls across all school and educational establishments are encouraged to pursue science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) subjects.”
Why are women underrepresented in the oil and gas industry? Well, the reasons are varied and wide-ranging.
“At a grassroots level, we need to understand where the barriers are in terms of girls choosing [STEM] subjects at school and the industry, through OPITO, is doing a lot to inspire young girls and broaden their understanding of the multitude of career opportunities the oil and gas industry provides,” Spalding told Rigzone. “In addition to this, more needs to be done within companies to engage with their female workers to take a closer look at what might be holding them back from moving up in their chosen career path.”