Beyond the books: Filling the gaps between classroom and career

Science & technology

Making the leap from the classroom to a full-time career is always daunting.

After years of education, new workers often find themselves underprepared for the office or worksite, unused to the technology and software being used.

In recent surveys, only a third of university students said they felt prepared with the skills needed in the workplace.

Seeing this gap between education and experience, energy company ExxonMobil – which operates the PNG LNG project – has gone back to the classroom to take Papua New Guinean earth science and engineering students beyond the books to give them real-life skills.

Geoscience students at the University of Papua New Guinea in Port Moresby have been provided with training and exposure to real-life applications, helping them make the leap from the theoretical to the practical.

ExxonMobil geoscientists organised three-day workshops for 40 students, giving them exposure to life in the field.

PNG geology student Dauba Dauba said the experience had opened his eyes.

“It really broadened my understanding on how we saw things; at school, we’d studied geological contours, but we didn’t know how to actually apply it in real life,” he said.

“[These classes had] actual steps to acquire an exploration block and get an exploration license to go look for oil or gas. It was a good learning experience.”

Meanwhile, students at the Papua New Guinea University of Technology (Unitech) in Lae received mentoring from ExxonMobil engineers as part of the JMP (John’s Macintosh Project, pronounced “jump”) Ahead program.

The students were given insights into real-world experiences and saw what a typical day in the life of a geologist is like.

These students also got first-hand experience and access to engineering data and analytics software tools, like JMP and Seeq, that will help PNG’s resource sector handle the abundance of information being generated by the next-generation technology.

The energy company also donated laptops and software to Unitech so that future students would have the same educational opportunities.

ExxonMobil PNG engineering technician Mea Vai said students’ experience and exposure to these technologies will help put them ahead of the curve.

“I think that PNG LNG is at the forefront of a lot of these digital transformation initiatives and analytics,” he said. “This initiative will help to bridge the gap when they start as new hires.”

ExxonMobil Manufacturing Support Business Model Redesign Venture Executive Brian Lawless agreed.

He said PNG LNG has incorporated these high-level data programs to aid their operations.

Tags:   educationengineeringgasgeologynatural gasPapua New GuineaPNGPNG LNGsoftwareSTEM
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