Each year in June, at a black-tie event in the capital, The Geological Society of London recognises the talents and contributions of the country’s most deserving young geoscientist. This year, after being nominated by Senior Geologist Caroline Gill, Ceri Griffith-Swain was named Young Petroleum Geoscientist of the Year 2015.
“It’s a great honour just to be nominated and I certainly never expected to actually win,” says Ceri, a 28-year-old Production Geologist for Shell in Aberdeen.
Next generation geologists
Caroline, herself an award-winning geologist, felt compelled to put Ceri’s name forward after hearing of the remarkable efforts she’d made encouraging young girls in Aberdeen to consider a career in the energy industry.
Ceri explains: “I’m Chair of the Women’s Network at Shell in Aberdeen and a focus of ours has always been on attracting young women to the industry. As part of a pilot scheme sponsored by the Scottish Government we reached out to students at Kincorth Academy, inviting 60 girls to our offices and introducing them to life at Shell using fun, interactive games and hands-on activities.”
While the scheme was only launched around 18 months ago, Ceri and the Women’s Network have already witnessed positive results.
“When we first met the girls, very few were interested in the oil industry, but soon afterwards 25 of them applied for work experience with us. The best thing about this is that of the four who were accepted, each one has chosen to continue studying a STEM subject at school.”
As someone who admits she was unsure about her career after graduating university, Ceri knows how important it is to make young students fully aware of the opportunities available to them – something she recognised early on in Shell.
“The most amazing thing about Shell is the number of opportunities there are to progress your career,” she says. “I started at the company as an Exploration Geologist in the Netherlands, but after three years I decided it would be good for me to gain experience in Production. My senior leaders have always been really encouraging, so I applied to work in Aberdeen on the Penguins Redevelopment Project.”
After Shell announced the decommissioning of Brent Field in the North Sea, Ceri and the team have been working tirelessly on plans to build a new facility on the Penguins oilfield to the south of Brent. They recently received news that all their hard work has paid off as Shell senior leadership praised their outstanding efforts and encouraged the team to keep pushing the project forward.
“We’re making incredible progress and it’s a special feeling. It’s taken a lot of time to get where we are and it’s so exciting to know that wells you’ve been planning for so long might get drilled one day very soon.”
This, coupled with being named Young Petroleum Geoscientist of the Year, has made 2015 a huge success for Ceri, but she’s determined not to rest on her laurels. She concludes: “I want to keep challenging myself in ways that will enable me to develop my career. I will continue to be part of the Women’s Network at Shell, supporting women in our business and encouraging young women to become part of our industry.”