Work experience students

Learning of the future

11 November 2013

At the Met Office we work hard to predict what it will be like tomorrow. That means we are making full use of the emerging technologies that are transforming education.

It is often said that we all learn something new every day - and that's certainly true at the Met Office. As a centre of scientific excellence and learning, our research and development teams are at the forefront of the research which underpins all of our products and services.

For hundreds of years, classrooms have retained a familiar setting. These days however, learning in the digital age means that more classrooms are online. Few industries have been untouched by the digital revolution, and education is no exception. Interactive webinars can be broadcast live online in a virtual version of face-to-face courses. The convenience of being able to train from afar can't be underestimated - all you need is an internet connection.

At the Met Office, we embrace various ways of teaching and learning, but we haven't forgotten the importance of face to face interaction. One-on-one tuition and classroom learning each offer something different. Similarly, e-learning, if used appropriately, can enhance classroom courses and is a useful tool for both Met Office staff and customers. This approach, of blended learning, is one that the Met Office strives to provide by offering a carefully balanced learning experience (read an article about the Met Office College).

The rapid growth of internet use is giving people access to more and more information and it is having a major impact on how people get information - not least about science and technology. We are committed to communicating science to help to broaden the public's understanding of science.

We help many others, including young people, discover the importance of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) subjects. We enable learning inside as well as outside the Office, for example, Met Office scientists who do not already have PhDs often work towards attaining them while carrying out research at the Met Office.

Learning is integral to everything we do. Each day we push boundaries at the Met Office, furthering understanding of weather and climate science. It's exciting to think of how people will be learning in the future. One thing's for sure, the Met Office will be always be at the forefront of learning and education, passionate for knowledge.

Importance of experience

We host students across the Met Office throughout the year. Students find it a rewarding experience and a useful way to test out what they might like to do in the future.

Although individual students can be hosted at any time, the Met Office Human Resources team co-ordinates one week a year for a larger group of young people. This year's week in July saw 43 students visit different areas of the Office. For the first time, students based in Exeter took part in group work which gave a new dimension to their experience.

We also provide longer-term summer placements for students of college and university age. This year's scheme once again proved to be a great success, attracting over 500 applications, with 44 students from all over the country chosen to work at our Exeter headquarters and other locations around the UK.

An intensive 12 week placement offered the opportunity to experience the excitement of working on projects in all areas of our organisation from science, technology and information services, forecasting and observations right through to business, which includes placements in marketing, finance, legal and human resources.

Not only are work placements the ultimate in blended learning, it's how we find the scientist and technologists of tomorrow. As Albert Einstein said, "The only source of knowledge is experience." Our growth depends on recruiting the best and brightest graduates. We focus significant energy on showing placement students the opportunities we have to offer after they finish their studies. Indeed, many summer placement students return to work at the Met Office once they graduate.

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