Nearly 27,000 primary and middle school students from over 850 Italian cities were able to experience two days aboard a vessel engaged in the construction of a large wind farm in the North Sea, thanks to an exclusive virtual and interactive field trip organized by Saipem, the Italian energy engineering services company. The vessel, Saipem 7000, is the third largest crane ship in the world and installed the foundations for the Neart Na Gaoithe (NnG) wind farm off the east coast of Scotland.

The initiative was created with the aim of introducing young people to the exceptional work of Saipem's engineers and technicians, as well as helping them learn more about the energy transition and wind energy. Participants were able to experience the trip through a special app, which featured around 10 hours of live streams and interactive tools such as questions, polls and quizzes.

This special visit is part of the "CodyTrip" series of virtual field trips, conceived and developed by the University of Urbino’s spin-off DIGIT, in collaboration with the University, Giunti Editore and CampuStore, an Italian leader in the education sector, with the sponsorship of Save the Children, Fondazione Mondo Digitale, Grey Panthers and Telefono Azzurro.

The young students first met virtually with their guide at the Aberdeen heliport and, after a helicopter flyover of the wind farm under construction, they landed on the Saipem 7000 for a tour of the ship. Here they met the captain, the site manager, as well as engineers and technicians involved in project execution. They spoke to the students about the values that drive them and which make it possible to carry out such large and complex works, such as creative ingenuity, making the most of expertise and roles, team spirit, trust, attention to people and the environment and workplace safety. The students observed the Saipem 7000 in full operation, visited the deck as well as the engine room and got up close to the massive heavy-lift cranes used to install the wind turbines. Finally, they had the chance to experience life on board like a real crew member: from taking part in the safety induction as soon as they arrived, having dinner in the canteen with the ship's cook, to the wake-up stretches in the gym or cabin the next morning.

During the visit, participants also learned interesting facts and curiosities about the project, the company and its vessels, such as the fact that the Saipem 7000 owes its name to the presence of two gigantic twin cranes with a lifting capacity of 7,000 tons each; or that in 1980, the renowned Italian writer Primo Levi visited one of Saipem’s vessels, the Castoro 6 pipelayer. He had been invited by the company's then Chairman who was struck by some passages in Levi’s novel “The Monkey's Wrench” that seemed as if it had been inspired by the work of Saipem’s people and vessels.

The trip was preceded by a few focused learning activities, including two webinars dedicated to wind energy and safety at work.

The initiative was a unique and once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for young students, family members and teachers to board one of Saipem's most cutting-edge vessels while in operation and understand the great engineering challenge behind the construction of an offshore wind farm. It was also an important opportunity to provide a firsthand insight into the work of Saipem, a company with over 65 years of history and great achievements, recognized worldwide as a symbol of Italian engineering excellence, as well as to demonstrate the company’s commitment to the energy transition and to the creation of a sustainable future.