The oil and gas career roadshow which took place last week was something which interests me.
Having lived in the oil district of Brunei for more than 10 years, hearing and seeing what work and life is like for those in the industry, I feel a certain connection to it too.
It is best explained by my husband – it is an industry he was born to go into simply because, he grew up with it.
Born and bred in the district where everyday and everywhere are sights of oil and gas activities; towering rigs, flare stacks, helicopters flying to and fro the intriguing “offshore” and even the occasional smell of gas in the air around town – it’s hard not to be interested or at least, curious about this industry.
Herein lies the one thing that makes this career path a clear choice for some and hazy for most – and I meant students who live outside the Belait districts who have probably never seen a working nodding donkey, the universal symbol of oil production.
How can they be interested to venture into this career – especially when it most likely brings up images of oil stains, hard and heavy labour work, amongst others? But at least, this is an obstacle which cannot be tackled in a 3 days career roadshow.
What can be tackled during the roadshow was to field speakers/representatives of this industry that can relate to the majority of the audience i.e. the FEMALE STUDENTS.
Where are the lady engineers who would be the only ones who could answer questions such as what’s offshore life is like from women’s perspectives, what roles can women do at drilling rigs or the special challenges and difficulties faced by women in this industry that is globally dominated by men.
But oil and gas is not an industry meant only for men.
It is time we realise that to get more of our female students into this line of career and to contribute to the biggest income-earning industry in our economy, we must highlight to them their role models – the small but hopefully growing group of female oil and gas professionals.
Lady engineers of Belait, our girls are depending on you for guidance.