Teens keep a weather eye on job prospects
THEY'VE taken their fair share of stick over barbecue summer predictions and gloomy forecasts that leave tourism bosses high and dry.
But that doesn't stop youngsters dreaming of being weathermen and women. Far from it.
The next generation of forecasters from across the country have been gaining valuable insights into the work of the Met Office at the Exeter weather centre.
A group of 43 teenagers were the successful candidates from around 150 hopefuls who applied for the programme, which organisers say is growing in popularity every year.
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Open to 14- to 17-year-olds, the annual work placement scheme sees students shadowing teams ranging from forecasting to communications.
Rachel Chalcraft, of the Met Office, said: "We are always inundated with applications for forecasting and science – but we want to highlight the fact that we're about much more than that and give students an understanding of the bigger picture of what we do.
"We offer placements across the whole of the organisation, from finance to communications, IT and other business areas, so there are lots of opportunities.
"This has been the biggest year to date in terms of the number of students applying and taking part.
"Interest is growing all the time, partly through word of mouth because students go back to their schools and colleges and talk about the experiences they have had."
Successful applicants this year included students from the King's School in Ottery St Mary and Sidmouth College, who were joined by teenagers from as far afield as Scotland.
While learning about the work of their host teams and participating in a variety of activities during the week, the interns were tasked with preparing a presentation to the group about the career opportunities available in their chosen field.
Met Office HR associate Laura Giblin said: "They were all quite shy at the start of the week when they were put into groups but by the end of the week their presentations were brilliant."
For students who have been inspired by their week at the Met Office and are keen to return, there are opportunities for those aged 17 and above to apply for paid, three-month internships every summer.
This year more than 500 applications were received for about 45 placements.
"We want to encourage students to come back and hopefully further their career later on," said Rachel.
"We have had at least one person who was here as a work experience student several years ago who has been successful in one of our graduate recruitment campaigns and is going to be joining as an IT trainee this autumn."