Graphics student gains valuable opportunities during her placement with the Met Office

Emma Lawrence

Graphic Communication and Illustration student, Emma Lawrence, is currently working at the Met Office as part of her placement year and has gained valuable skills and opportunities.

Working in a varied role, Emma has used her knowledge to provide input into fresh ideas for a wide range of projects, such as working on campaigns to promote the new Met Office book ‘Very British Weather’, to working on infographics to advise scientists on how to present climate information to the public.

Emma decided to undertake a placement year as part of her degree after attending lectures where previous cohorts presented their experiences from their placements and showcased their work, and Emma instantly saw the value that students had gained from their year in industry. This gave her the drive to get herself a placement.

With support from the Careers Network, including advice on where to find placements, the financial costs involved, and top tips for creating a creative CV and portfolio, Emma was successful in securing a role in the Content Team at the Met Office.

Speaking about the benefits of her placement and the new skills she has learnt so far, Emma explains that:

“My animation skills are rapidly advancing, and this is one of the skills that I wanted to develop during my placement year, as I think motion skills are becoming increasingly important to any designer’s toolkit.

In addition, I get to stimulate my academic as well as my creative side. As someone who did Maths and Geography A-Level, I love having the opportunity to design things about something that is really interesting (well to me anyway). I have always had it in my nature to help people and it is important for me to use my creativity to do this wherever I can. I find it rewarding knowing that the communications we put out as a team on social media every day, help keep the public up-to-date with the latest weather forecast to ultimately keep people safe, especially in times of severe weather.”

Social media is a beneficial platform for the Met Office as they have seen recent growth on their TikTok channel, which is fast becoming a tool for education and allows the Met Office to communicate with a much younger audience than they would typically reach. It allows them to take often complex scientific information and strip it right down to its core, to produce a simple short video for the public to understand.

Due to their recent success, Emma along with her line manager, Ross Middleham, Content and Social Lead at the Met Office, were invited to feature on the Agorapulse weekly live show ‘Social Pulse Weekly’ with Meteorologist, Jennifer Watson, to talk about the weather service and how they create their viral videos.

screen shot of the three screens

You can watch the full interview on Facebook here.

When asked what she would say to someone considering a placement year, Emma says that:

“Go for it! I can’t express how much value I am gaining from my placement year and not just in my design skills, but in all the other skills (leadership, time-management, communication) that are vital in any job you go for. My advice would be to have the grit and determination to keep applying for placements, as believe me it is a long haul, particularly balancing applications, and interviews alongside your degree, but it is so worth it.”

The Met Office are currently recruiting for next year’s placement student and for a summer internship. Find out more about their 10-week summer internship as well as their Design & Content Industrial Placement.

*Please note, Graphic Communication and Illustration has now become Graphic Design for 2021 entry onwards.