Monday, 23 June 2008

A Career in Meteorology - Where do we find our future Meteorologists?

The Society has been a member of the Science Council since its inception. We have always felt that this was an important organisation to be part of and continue to be actively involved in several of its programmes of work, particularly strong evidence-based policy support, the development of science education, and showing young people what interesting career choices exist in science, and in particular meteorology.

I found this year’s Annual Science Council lecture really though provoking – it was on the topic of how to make science more interesting to young people. In part my interest was an issue of timing because we are thinking ourselves about how we might tackle this challenge as part of our new Education Strategy.

I was astonished to see that the findings show of those choosing science as a career, some 28% of children have made this choice by the age of 11 and 63% by the age of 14 – it really brought home to me how important it is to have good quality science teaching in primary and early secondary school, and not just at A-level. As a mathematician, I have to note this bit, those who do well in maths go on to succeed in the wider physical science disciplines. In fact, it turns out that the A-levels that make you most employable are Maths, Physics and one other – and that certainly true for those wanting to make a career in meteorology.

One interesting observation was how unstimulating some science lessons can be when they involve learning by rote rather than discovery, and that flashes and bangs might be all well and good, but if you are designing a science curriculum that appeals to both boys and girls, then it has to look more widely to issues around how science can be used to address some of the difficult and challenging global problems we face. And there are many examples we can point to that also make stronger links with learning ‘outside the classroom’ and from ‘peer-to-peer’.

I think meteorology offers all of this. I guess there is too much to mention in specifics here, so I’ll return to this later in the summer, but if you would like to find out more about how people have made a career in meteorology, then you can visit our ‘Spotlight on Careers’ at ‘’.

1 comment:

anna said...

The best known area of meteorology is weather forecasting. Yet meteorologists do more than forecast weather conditions. Others study climate change, pollution and storms. They conduct research in the specialist areas of climatology, dynamic meteorology, physical meteorology and industrial meteorology.A career as a meteorologist can involved working around the clock, seven days a week, including public holidays. Overtime may be involved during weather emergencies. Deadline pressure can be frequent and unremitting. Working in weather stations often means working in isolation. Atmospheric scientists may be involved in observing weather conditions and collecting data from aircraft. Weather forecasters who broadcast forecasts may have to work evenings and weekends.