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Vocational qualifications - frequently asked questions

We offer training for new and experienced forecasters tailored to meet your needs

Further information about vocational qualifications at the Met Office.

How much time will I spend gaining the qualification?

Much will depend on your current standard of competence in carrying out the tasks set out in the occupational standards/qualifications. For an experienced forecaster or observer the effort required should be little more than that taken up by the assessment process, which is unlikely to exceed four working days plus 15-30 minutes, occasionally, on the job to gather evidence spread over several months. Even experienced forecasters and observers may find the occupational standards encourage some reappraisal of their knowledge and working methods. But the time spent on this is likely to be measured in hours rather than days, again spread over a period of time.

Why should I obtain a meteorological vocational qualification?

Achievement of the qualification is a nationally recognised statement about your competence as a professional forecaster or observer. It is only available to experienced practitioners who can demonstrate that they have, and can apply, the required skills and knowledge, which are set out in the national occupational standards. It is expected that all employers of forecasters and observers in the UK will move to using these types of qualifications as an indication of proficiency.

The qualification will increase your employment opportunities, within and outside the meteorological profession, because every vocational qualification is approved and moderated against criteria that meet nationally recognised standards. Experience from other employment sectors suggest that as you go through the system of assessment you will learn more efficient ways of completing work activities. Through increased awareness employees understand more about what they do and how their actions can impact on the workplace. They also learn how to solve problems and take on more responsibility, which gives them the opportunity to develop their careers.

These qualifications have European recognition under 'a codicil to European Directive 92/51 EEC'.

What's in it for my employer?

Met Office, the Royal Navy, and private sector employers have all made a commitment to the success of these qualifications. This commitment is demonstrated by the fact that they have contributed funding, time and subsidised effort to develop the national occupational standards and qualifications. They have done so because they are convinced of the need for nationally-recognised standards for forecasters and observers, as a means of improving the quality of services provided by the industry as a whole. They are likely to use the standards as a basis for staff development. By focusing on outcomes, the awards have the potential to improve efficiency. In addition, qualifications gained during employment demonstrate an employer's investment in their staff.

The Met Office College provides a wide range of courses. To receive more information about training please Register your details.

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