A major international energy services company is working with the University of Aberdeen to encourage and support more women to aim for the top in their career.
The Halliburton Leadership Luncheon at the University this week provided a forum for postgraduate students and young academics in the early stages of their careers to hear the experiences of women in senior positions in the energy industry, in research and in academia.
The event was the latest initiative in the partnership between the University and international oilfield services company Halliburton.
Attracting more women into science, engineering and technology careers in the energy industry is a strategic priority for Halliburton. The company is an active participant in WISE (Women in Science and Engineering) which helps organisations to inspire women to pursue science, technology, engineering and mathematics as pathways to exciting and fulfilling careers.
The University is similarly committed, and participates in the Athena SWAN Charter scheme, which recognises and celebrates good employment practice for women working in science, engineering and technology in higher education and research.
Inspiration for the 70 women participating at the event was provided by Professor Elizabeth Baggs, a soil scientist who is now Head of the School of Biological Sciences at the University. Professor Baggs is currently President-elect of the British Society of Soil Science and a member of the National Environment Research Council’s Science and Innovation Strategy Board. Additionally, colleagues of Professor Baggs who have also achieved leadership roles in the University will also take part and discuss the challenges and rewards over informal networking.
Professor Baggs said: “We lose too many bright talented women during the early stages of their careers, and women are under-represented in senior management. There have been some shifts in the UK in the last few years, but we still have quite a way to go. I’m delighted that the University and Halliburton are coming together in this event as a positive step forward in addressing the visibility and representation of women in science, by sharing good practice, and empowering our women with the confidence, skills and inspiration to help achieve their ambition.”
The audience also heard from Rebekka Bishop, Senior Technical Professional, Project Leader for Halliburton’s Sperry Drilling business line, and Chair of the Halliburton Leadership Luncheon, about life in a senior position with a major company operating worldwide.
Rebekka said: “Supporting women in Science, Engineering and Technology (SET) careers not only increases the talent pool but also is important to women to participate in technological innovations and latest scientific discovery. Halliburton takes pride in supporting and encouraging women in SET to fulfill their potential.”
David Mladenka, Halliburton’s Vice President, United Kingdom, said: “Halliburton is proud to continue our partnership with the University of Aberdeen on this opportunity to deliver the first of the Women’s Leadership Luncheon to inspire future leaders.
“We are glad we are able to support these women students as they begin their careers in the SET positions in the energy industry.”
This week’s event builds on a growing relationship between the University and Halliburton. The organisations signed a Memorandum of Understanding in summer 2010, agreeing to work collaboratively on teaching and research with the aim of equipping students with the skills they need to meet the future demands of the energy sector.
A Halliburton scholarship programme was launched to nurture new talent for the future of the oil and gas industry, and this was followed by donation of equipment to create a new 3D visualisation suite for geosciences students and researchers at the University.
Last year a new scholarship scheme was launched to enable students from sub-Saharan Africa to gain all the benefits of postgraduate education at Aberdeen, benefiting from this experience at the heart of the mature North Sea industry.