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75th Anniversary of Met Office College

Sep 26, 2014 10:20 AM

Ant and Dec are among thousands successfully trained by the Met Office College during its 75 year history

Former students of the About the Met Office College, a world leading provider of weather and climate training, have played a pivotal role in advising and supporting the public, industry and Governments during extreme weather events, saving lives, protecting property and the economy. They have kept planes around the world flying and industries operating.

College History

Prince WilliamPrince Harry

Former students include celebrities such as Ant and Dec (in 2007), TV and radio broadcasters, the Duke of Cambridge and Prince Harry (who received training with the armed forces in 2009), forecasters, defence staff, air traffic control staff etc. Students have travelled from as far afield as Hong Kong and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Ant and Dec

The Met Office Training School, as it was originally called, officially opened in 1939 and one of its early jobs was to train forecasters for commercial flight routes across the North Atlantic.

However the start of WWII saw the school take on a vital role training military personnel, especially the RAF, in the weather and its potential impacts on operations and sorties. The College continues to have strong links with the Supporting operations and exercises today and, over the last 75 years, has trained10's of thousands of students helping keep people around the globe safe, both on the ground and in the air.

The College has been at the forefront of developing nationally recognised qualifications; ensuring standards of competence in meteorology are maintained. Met Office Chief Executive Rob Varley, a former Head of the Met Office College, said; "always keeping abreast of new science, the College endeavours to support its students and customers in the understanding of the science of weather and climate change and its impacts, equipping them to plan for weather events and for the future"

The College is now embarking on an exciting chapter in its history as the impacts of weather and climate on citizens become more evident. The current head of the Met Office College, Sally Wolkowski, said; "Both the public and private sector are becoming increasingly aware of environmental challenges. Building on the strong scientific foundation of the Met Office, the College is able to share its expertise globally to ensure our customers and partners understand the impacts and uncertainties the natural environment can present."

College timeline

College timeline

Met Office College timeline

College facts and figures

Origins

David Brunt and Percival Albert Sheppard seconded from Imperial College of Science and Technology to the Air Ministry to establish the Met Office Training School in Berkeley Square House.

Met Office Training School officially opened on 15th September 1939

Establishment of the school enabled the systematic, centralised training of all Met Office forecasters (military and civilian).

Locations

September 1939 - Berkeley Square House, London

June 1940 - moved to Barnwood, Gloucester

During the war the Training School moved to various places in London before moving to Stanmore in August 1951

18th October 1971 moved to Shinfield Park, Reading - former RAF Flying Training Command Headquarters.

2002 moved to South Devon College, Torquay

Spring 2004 moved to headquarters, Exeter

Famous alumni

Prince William and Prince Harry (as part of their flight training at the Defence Helicopter Flying School at RAF Shawbury)

Ant and Dec (TV presenter training for their Saturday Night Takeaway show)

Baroness Schroeder - GA pilot training

Sir Alan Sugar - GA pilot training (cannot corroborate from our records, but Darren Hardy remembers him coming on a course)

Nick Mason (Pink Floyd drummer) - GA pilot training

Jasper Fforde (author) - GA pilot training

Training delivered in over 30 different countries including:

Bermuda, South Korea, Brazil, Brunei, The Gambia, Singapore, Rwanda, South Africa, Croatia.

We offer 36 different courses for a range of customers including:

Weather forecasters and observers

Private pilots

Water asset managers

airport and airline operation, control and dispatch personnel

Weather presenters

Marine Co-ordinators

Road winter maintenance staff

Offshore co-ordinators

Interesting places training has been delivered:

In the galley of an icebreaker, moored in a Finnish fjord

In a windmill in East Riding

On an oil rig in Trogir, Croatia

On a sewage farm in East London

Onboard a container ship in Liverpool

Miscellaneous

The first TV weatherman, George Cowling was an instructor at the college after his TV days in the early 1960's

In the past decade we've trained 372 new forecasters including international delegates from countries such as Thailand, Malta, Belgium, United Arab Emirates and Sierra Leone