As is often written in this column, generating an interest in math and science in the younger generation—and particularly in girls and young women—is a goal of many seasoned professionals in the energy industry. In this case, Katy Crawford, a young woman herself, has joined the effort. So determined is she to inspire students to consider a career in the oil and gas industry that she was recently recognized for her work.
Crawford, just 22 years old, is an Aberdeen-based engineer employed by offshore lifting and mechanical handling services company Sparrows. Providing oilfield engineering services, Sparrows specializes in offshore lifting, crane engineering and services, mechanical handling, pipe and cable lay systems, fluid power engineering, equipment rentals and competence training.
Still new to full-time employment, Crawford was chosen to receive the Raising the Profile of the Profession – Promoting Engineering to Primary Students award from the Institute of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE).
Crawford earned a Mechanical and Offshore Engineering degree from The Robert Gordon University and serves as the IMechE Young Member Panel's Education Representative. She has played a key role in introducing the organization's Primary Engineer initiative to primary schools in northeast Scotland.
The initiative incorporates engineering principles into fun activities for children ages five and older. Crawford's passion for the industry drove her to encourage schools and other engineers to sign up for the program. She now serves as the main point of contact for the project in Aberdeen.
From left: Katy Crawford with Mintlaw Academy students Abby Thompson, Rebecca Tosh and course coordinator Heather Sim as part of the Girls into Energy program.
"It has been great to get kids interested in engineering and let them see what they could do with their careers. The oil and gas industry has a massive skills gap coming up and I would like to help young people look at a future which could address that and give them some excellent opportunities," she said.
In addition to her work with younger children, Crawford also arranged for a group of female high school students to tour her workplace at Sparrows and meet senior female engineers and managers as part of the Girls into Energy program.
"I was shocked to hear I had been chosen for the award. I really enjoy my job and the work I do for IMechE and had not been expecting to receive anything for it. This has been a nice surprise."
Claire Jones, Chair of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers' Young Member board, commented on Crawford's role. "Katy has been such an important link in getting the Primary Engineer scheme up and running in Aberdeen. The judging panel clearly saw that she went above and beyond her role as education representative.
"Katy is inspiring the next generation of engineers and in particular female students who often do not consider engineering as an interesting and viable career choice."
Doug Sedge, chief executive of Sparrows, said: "It is important to attract the engineers of tomorrow to the industry and Katy is playing an important role in this. Her hard work and proactive approach in making youngsters aware of the opportunities available to them is valuable to both the children and Sparrows.
"As a company, Sparrows has long been committed to developing potential and allowing people to make the most of themselves in their work. Katy's work is in keeping with this and will hopefully help to inspire the engineers of tomorrow.
"Katy herself is an excellent example to young people of someone who is making good progress as an engineer and has a bright future in the oil and gas industry. I would like to congratulate her on receiving the IMechE award which she thoroughly deserves."