Subsea technology specialist Ecosse Subsea Systems (ESS) is playing its part in supporting the next generation of engineers with work placements for five university and school students.

All five have been put to work on a variety of tasks which has exposed them to the challenges of working in the subsea engineering and renewables sectors, while at the same time ESS has benefited from their enthusiasm and desire to progress in their chosen profession.

RGU students Stuart Moir and Findlay Booth have been involved in designing and building a scale-model for an updated version of ESS’s subsea plough systems – a patented technology which is used in seabed clearance, trenching and backfilling in the renewables, interconnector and oil and gas sectors.

(Left to Right: Lewis Cowie, Calum Gordon, Mark Gillespie – ESS Managing Director, Christopher Purdie, Stuart Moir, Findlay Booth)

Stuart Moir said: “I have been given many great opportunities during my placement at Ecosse and I am delighted to be able to utilise what I have learned through university. One highlight was a visit to see the trenching plough on the deck of a vessel. Having responsibility for project managing a project from start to finish is a great advantage to my future career as an engineer, and working at Ecosse has confirmed that I want to pursue a career as an engineer in the energy sector.”

Findlay, who like Stuart is about to start a Master’s degree, said: “This summer placement has allowed me to gain first-hand experience as an engineer and gain new skills which I would not get the opportunity to learn at university.

“I have had genuine hands-on experience, including two nights in Nigg helping to demobilise the Siem Ruby anchor handling vessel which had been deployed on an Ecosse project for a renewable energy client. This placement has shown me that a project engineer’s job is rarely the same two days in a row and this experience has highlighted it is a career I wish to persue.”

Third year student at the University of West of Scotland, Calum Gordon is considering carrying on his studies to take a Master’s in renewable technologies. He said: “I wanted to work at Ecosse Subsea Systems to immerse myself in the working environment of an innovative engineering company. It was an opportunity to assist on ongoing projects, to listen to the problems the team have had to overcome, and to find out how each of them have progressed to their current role.

“During the placement I have been given the responsibility to work on my own project which has tested my self-study, time management and report writing. This experience is a powerful addition to my CV and a massive boost for returning to university for my final two years of study.”

Lewis Cowie is due to start a degree course at RGU in September and has been working at Ecosse since June.

He said: “I have gained a great deal of experience, which included spending time in Brechin helping to build the SCAR 2 Backfill plough which gave me a valuable insight in to safety aspects of a working yard. I’ve enjoyed the working day-to-day environment, it has been a great opportunity to see how a company in the energy sector operates, and I am now better prepared for starting university in September.”

On completing sixth year at Turriff Academy, Christopher Purdie hopes to go on to university to study engineering. He said: During my time at Ecosse I have learnt about the industry and been involved with research tasks, writing task plans, making presentations and practical work.

“I have been able to work alongside engineers and university students and I believe this has given me a valuable insight into the industry I hope to join. I also think the experience I have gained will be valuable to me as I look towards finishing Turriff Academy, starting university and studying towards an engineering degree.”

Ecosse Subsea Systems operations director, Mo Petrie, said each student had made a valuable contribution to the company’s day-to-day operations while gaining genuine experience of life in a leading subsea engineering business.

She said: “We believe it is important to support schools and universities in preparing students for life in the real world and our placement scheme ensures each student is kept busy on meaningful tasks which make an important contribution to the business.

“All five placements have experienced a wide range of challenges which we come up against daily in our role of servicing major oil, gas and renewables clients. Each student has responded extremely well to the tasks we have set them and were a valuable asset to the business.

“It is important that industry and businesses like ours do what they can to support and encourage the next generation of engineers as they start off their careers. We are pleased to maintain strong links to local schools and universities and we look forward to seeing all five students thrive and progress as they start or complete their journey through university and in to the working world.”