Getting the next generation of engineers inspired is a vital and sometimes overlooked part of the long-term goals in the oil and gas industry. With so much uncertainty in the air for the immediate future, it is easy to forget the impact that this is having on students and aspiring engineers watching from the sidelines. While the media show us doom and gloom, the more experienced members know that the boom-and-bust cycle is nothing new and energy will continue to be in demand. But if these insights are not passed on to the next generation by engineers themselves, who else will do it?
The Ambassador Lecturer Program (ALP) is a platform which addresses such questions in an informal setting. As one of the established programs led by SPE’s Young Member Engagement Committee (YMEC), ALP encourages sections and young professional (YP) members to work together with universities and secondary schools in their area by providing presentations and networking opportunities for students interested in joining the industry. Students are provided with a glimpse into cutting-edge technologies in the industry, while gaining a better understanding of the career opportunities ahead.
These events have proven very successful in several parts of the world, not only benefitting students, but also providing YPs with an opportunity to develop their presentation skills, showcase their passion for the industry, and ultimately inspire the next generation of engineers.
ALP events provide a personal insight into what it is like to enter the industry from YPs who have just gone through the experience. YPs are well-suited to answer questions from students, talk about their expectations of the industry, how the industry continues to change, and what they would do differently now. Feedback received for these events shows that students have a true appreciation for learning from industry professionals with firsthand experience and for networking and the open discussion of topics.
Last year, 90 ALP events took place across the world, organized by 17 sections globally. YMEC encourages all sections and YPs who organize similar activities to get in touch with SPE, as SPE can provide further support though reimbursement for lecturers’ travel cost, official volunteer recognition rewards, and the provision of presentation materials. Sections that organize the most number of lectures are recognized with the ALP Outstanding Achievement Award. In 2015, the Brazil Section won the award for holding 24 lectures across their region.