OS to launch new virtual national work experience programme for students

4 May 2022 09:57 AM

Ordnance Survey (OS) is set to launch its inaugural geospatial virtual work experience programme that will be accessed by up to 500 year 10 students across the country.

For decades OS has been involved in education. Whether that is supplying the paper and digital maps that have become a regular feature in classrooms, creating teaching resources like Digimap for Schools or providing traditional work experience, apprenticeships and graduate schemes.

Since the outbreak of Covid-19 many organisations have had to work remotely, and OS is no different. With the introduction of a more permanent and flexible hybrid arrangement for staff, why can’t events and things like work experience be like that too?

Hazel Hendley, Director of People at Ordnance Survey, explains: “There are many benefits to working in the office and we are really keen to retain those elements as frequently as possible.

“But over the last couple of years we’ve all proved that hybrid and remote working can be a success and we continue to support it, as well as looking at the opportunities that this type of environment provides us.

“One area of this is work experience. By doing this remotely we can not only give more teenagers the opportunity to do their work experience at OS, but this will be accessible to year 10 students all over the country rather than just the Southampton area.”

OS have teamed up with Speakers for Schools, a leading youth social mobility charity, to deliver the five-day virtual work experience programme. The students will get a sense of how important the geospatial profession can be and demonstrate what a geospatial career can offer through the medium of OS.

Throughout the programme the students will be introduced to the latest technologies such as drones, satellites and artificial intelligence, as well as some of the core skillsets used by geospatial professionals like remote sensing and software and app development. The programme will include live sessions with OS experts in which they’ll share their real-life experiences of using geospatial expertise to tackle huge global issues like sustainability and the national response to the Covid-19 emergency.

Iain Rolfe, Head of Geospatial Strategy at Ordnance Survey, said: “By doing this remotely we can offer work experience to twelve times as many students as could when we ran our traditional on-site programme.

“Moreover, with roughly 15 virtual classrooms, each one being from a different school and spread across different geographical areas and socio-economic backgrounds in Great Britain, where you live is no longer a barrier.

“Nobody knows Great Britain better than OS and our data is relied on by private, public sector and everyday citizens on a daily basis. From connecting homes with utilities, transport and how we communicate to supporting emergency responders, the students will have first-hand experience of how fundamental this data is and how we use it to tackle routine issues to some of the biggest challenges we face.”

The aim of the course is to create a window into the exciting and rewarding career of a geospatial professional. The programme concludes with practical advice on the best subjects to study as well as the pathways available to enter the industry, whether that’s university, apprenticeships or direct entry.

Nigel Clifford, Independent Commissioner for the Geospatial Commission said: “Recent advances in technology have brought about new ways for OS to expand its education provision. The Geospatial Commission are very excited to support this innovative initiative that enables OS to reach out to more students across the country and from a wider variety of backgrounds.

“This will give year 10 students a taste of what it is like to work in geospatial roles, work with geospatial technology and preview what geospatial career opportunities are available. We wish OS every success in the roll out of the programme.”

For more information on work experience opportunities at OS visit www.ordnancesurvey.co.uk/education/work-experience.