FEMALE school leavers are being encouraged to consider engineering careers in the Australian oil and gas sector, thanks to a Perth-based outreach programme targeting high school students.

The Women in Subsea Engineering Network (WISE) is currently mentoring 30 female students as part of a week-long Future Engineers Program.

The high school outreach program showcases the diversity of opportunities and interesting careers available for female students to consider as they make decisions on tertiary education.

Allison Selman is the head coordinator of WISE and believes encouraging our next generation of women into sustainable and successful oil and gas careers is vital.

“Many girls still don’t realise the breadth of career opportunities available to them,” Allison said.

“Sadly, they are still being subjected to the idea that women can’t forge viable careers in the world of science, technology, engineering and maths – it’s absolute madness.

“The Future Engineers Program is aimed at showing them the possibilities while providing direct access to female role models they can talk to and stay connected with.”

Industry partner, program participant and mentor Lina Velosa, from oil and gas technology and equipment specialist Nexxis, believes that although the program has only just commenced, it is already making a difference at the grass roots level.

“From the work we do with many operators, contractors and asset managers, there is a noticeable and distinct lack of diversity in the workplace, which obviously stems from the legacy of oil and gas being a very male dominated industry,” Lina said.

“But this week, we’ve already seen a significant shift in the girls’ mindsets as they’ve been exposed to things like new robotics technology, which has helped them to understand the diverse range of opportunities that engineering presents.

“It’s what makes this initiative so impressive, being fresh, current and relevant to girls today.”

Earlier this year Nexxis independently piloted its own high school pathway program, providing an opportunity for female students to undertake work experience in the area of new robotics and world-class inspection technologies.

“There are so many highly intelligent girls completing high school now and it will not only be valuable to them to have access to career opportunities in oil and gas, but to the industry to engage with this next generation of capable and willing young women,” Lina said.

“At Nexxis, we’re passionate about workplace diversity. Through the WISE program and our own pathways, we see a real opportunity to help make a sustainable change for the better of our industry.”