I joined the Met Office as part of a graduate recruitment scheme back in 1997. It feels like a lifetime ago now but 16 years is a relatively short time compared to some of my colleagues. And I guess that speaks volumes about the type of organisation the Met Office is. There’s a big emphasis on training here; staff are encouraged to broaden and enhance their skills and as such, you have the opportunity to move into a variety of roles. All of which makes it somewhere you want to stay and develop your career.
I read Geology and Geography at university and my interest in meteorology stemmed from here. In my final year, when it was time to make those big decisions about the future, I already knew I wanted to work for the Met Office, a world-leading meteorological organisation. I stayed on in education to gain my MSc in IT, specialising in Geographical Information Systems with the idea of keeping my career options open. But, the two actually combined really well and put me in good stead to apply to the Met Office.
Currently, I’m a Senior Business Manager for media services. In short, I’m responsible for our contracts with broadcasters such as ITV, UTV and STV. It’s up to me to develop new business opportunities in the sector and to make sure that we successfully manage our existing contracts and provide a high quality service to our media customers. It’s a stark contrast to where I started out at the Met Office. I began my career as a Software Programmer, developing applications used by our forecasters to create products for customers. For example, I wrote an application to generate BBC Ceefax pages and a service used by the Football Associate (FA) to determine weather conditions for FA Cup matches. This was especially important for teams where facilities would be more exposed to inclement weather. The decision to cancel a game because of bad weather can be hugely costly so our role was critical. And working in media services is no different. While it’s just a small cog in the breadth of what we do, it’s the most public facing, so it’s rewarding to know people are making vital decisions every day based on the information we provide.
Unsurprisingly, the weather tends to dictate how my day unfolds. I work in London with the team responsible forthe delivery of data, graphics and scripts to the media. We have a studio onsite where we record and transmit ITV’s national weather. In severe weather situations, it’s our duty to quickly communicate critical information to presenters from all the regions. If the weather makes the headlines, there will normally be additional interest from broadcasters and news teams – they might want interviews with us or statistics to support the story. There are usually two key questions on their minds: ‘why’s this happened?’ and ‘is it going to last?’ Another key responsibility is managing our contracts with customers, so day-to-day, I might be tracking account activity, sorting out finances or proposing new opportunities. Consumers now connect over four screens: TV, PC, mobile and tablet so I always keep up-to-date with technology to ensure our services are compatible across platforms.
People are genuinely proud to work forthe Met Office. I don’t know whether it’s because we have a direct impact on the public, the fact we’re involved in what is a British obsession, or the everyday satisfaction of knowing you’re making a difference. Staff here seem to have a true passion for their jobs.
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