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Operational Meteorologist Foundation Training Programme

We provide training for forecasters and observing staff from meteorological services all over the world

The role of the operational meteorologist has evolved significantly in recent years, with individuals required to be multi-skilled, customer aware professionals, able to provide mission critical advice to supervisory levels. Ahead of the 2017/2018 academic year, the Met Office College extensively reviewed and revised its Forecaster Foundation Training Programme to reflect the changing requirements of the role. The result, the Operational Meteorologist Foundation Training Programme (OMFTP), uses best practice methodologies from the fields of adult and vocational learning to ensure a blended approach to training.

The structure of the OMFTP is shown to the right. Blocks shaded in green will be held at the Met Office College in Exeter. Blocks shaded in orange will take place in an operational environment at the Met Office or the sponsoring organisation.

Programme aim: To equip the learner with the skills and knowledge required to take up a post as an operational meteorologist.

Programme learning outcomes:

  1. Achieve, through assessment, agreed levels of understanding of the principles of meteorology to enable a student to be credible when established as a professional in operational meteorology.
  2. Demonstrate through assessment standards, the ability to create meteorological forecast services tailored to end user needs.
  3. Demonstrate through assessment, the ability to confidently communicate complex meteorological services through varying methods, tailored to meet the needs of a variety of audiences.

Operational Meteorologist Foundation Course

The Operational Meteorologist Foundation Course (OMFC) comprises the first 4 blocks of the OMFTP. 

Course aim: To equip the learner with the skills and knowledge required to take up a post as an operational meteorologist under supervision.  

OMFC block 1 is designed for trainee operational meteorologists joining the Met Office. It consists of an introduction to the organisation and the Aeronautical Meteorological Observers Course (AMO). 

OMFC blocks 2 and 4 cover the fundamental skills required to forecast the weather in mid-latitude regions of responsibility and meets many of the learning outcomes of the WMO Basic Instruction Package for Meteorologists (BIP-M). More details can be made available about which WMO BIP-M learning outcomes are not covered by the OMFC so that learners can make arrangements to achieve these outcomes via alternative programmes of study. 

OMFC block 3 consists of 5 weeks of on-the-job training in order to embed the skills learnt so far on the course.

The University of Reading has reviewed the OMFC structure, delivery, content and assessment and considers the learning outcomes of the course to be consistent with level 6 (i.e. university degree level) and equivalent to 120 credits. 

Delegates from other national meteorological services and meteorological service providers are invited to attend blocks 2 and 4 of the OMFC. Arrangements can also be made for delegates to attend the AMO course, either by joining the AMO running during OMFC block 1 or by attending one of the other scheduled AMO courses. Details of the AMO can be found here

Pre-requisite learning: The OMFC is an intensive course of study. It uses many of the physical and mathematical concepts covered at AS and A levels and thus attendees should have ability in mathematics and physics to at least AS level, or the equivalent, e.g. Scottish Highers, or completion of relevant modules within a bachelor’s degree. Trainee operational meteorologists joining the Met Office will require a degree or equivalent in meteorology, a physical science or maths (at 2:1 or above).  

On-the-job training and assessment of competence

OMFC block 4 is followed by a period of on-the-job training (approximately 20 weeks) and an assessment of competence. In the Met Office, assessment of competence is made against occupational standards recognised by the Regulated Qualification Framework (RQF). Trainees must successfully complete the Level 5 Diploma in Meteorological Forecasting and the Level 5 Award in Meteorological Briefing in order to become qualified operational meteorologists and work without supervision. 

It is recommended that delegates from national meteorological services and other meteorological service providers also complete a period of on-the-job training following completion of the OMFC (Guide to the Implementation of Education and Training Standards in Meteorology and Hydrology, Volume 1 – Meteorology, 2015 edition, section 4).

Further information

For further information about joining the Met Office as a trainee operational meteorologist, please refer to the careers and vacancies section of the website. 

National meteorological services and other meteorological service providers are invited to email to discuss your requirements and course availability.

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

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