Case study

Operational forecaster/broadcast meteorologist — Adam Dury

Adam works for Weatherquest, a privately owned weather forecasting and analysis company. He enjoys the variety of his work although making accurate forecasts can sometimes be tricky...

How did you get your job?

My job was advertised in an email on the Metjobs mailing list, which is run by the University of Reading and the Royal Meteorological Society. I responded with a personalised cover letter and copy of my CV.

I was then invited to an interview, which was an enjoyable process for both parties because the directors at Weatherquest already knew me from being lecturers and attending the local Royal Meteorological Society meetings.

Because I applied for this job before I finished university it meant I actually started working a month before my graduation.

How relevant is your degree to your job?

My degree in environmental sciences is related to my job but only because Weatherquest directors had seen what modules I had taken, which suited the role perfectly.

What are your main work activities?

Most meteorological companies have shift work meaning your hours can vary week-by-week depending on how many shifts you are asked to do.

At Weatherquest a normal shift length is nine hours and the shifts can start at 4am or 9am, meaning we run an almost around-the-clock office.

The tasks that you do depend on what shift you work. However, some common tasks include answering the phones, checking if any weather warnings need to be issued for our customers based around the UK and offshore, and writing, recording and publishing podcasts that go on local television and various internet pages.

Answering the phone makes the job very interesting because we can be asked a variety of questions on our premium-rate line and our office line from our customers (mainly farmers) based around the UK.

How has your role developed and what are your career ambitions?

My role has developed from having to be doubled up and only allowed to do limited tasks, to locking up the office and doing all the tasks including extra ones that help the business grow.

In the future I can move up the business, try more varied media broadcasting and get many years of experience, which will be helpful for transferring to other similar roles.

What do you enjoy about your job?

I like that every day is different because you never know what phone call you're going to get and the weather can always throw something different at you.

The unpredictability of how the computer models forecast the weather is interesting because they all have strengths and weaknesses that vary each day meaning it's quite challenging.

What are the most challenging parts of your job?

Making sure you give accurate and up-to-date forecasts, as the models and weather are always changing. Shift work is another challenging aspect, however it is fine once you've adapted to it.

Any words of advice for someone who wants to get into this job?

One key piece of advice for people looking to get a job is to make sure you know what the business you are applying to does.

An interest in the weather and outside monitoring/reading of the weather helps because you could find you have an expertise in a certain range or type of forecast.

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