Neil Bennet, esteemed meteorologist, has reached a 40 year milestone in his career and we wish him the biggest congratulations!
We sat down with Mr Bennet to talk about his work, highlights and what’s next.
Mr Bennet revealed instead of going to university after graduating secondary school, he saw a job advertisement at the UK Meteorology Office and decided to pursue that.
“The UK Meteorology Office supplied all of the TV weather forecasts for the BBC at the time, which I thought was quite interesting,”
“I sorta just feel into it from watching TV and seeing the advert… and I haven’t looked back since,” he commented.
Once Mr Bennet got the his first job, he continued to study and found himself working as a forecaster for a period of time.
He then moved to Australia and furthered his studies at Macquarie University undertaking a Bachelor of Maths and Statistics, followed by a Diploma of Meteorology in house at the Bureau of Meteorology.
Mr Bennet said it’s been an ongoing thing; you’re continuously challenge, there’s always new techniques and systems that you have to learn.
“You can never rest on your laurels, you’re always learning and that is a highlight of the job,” he said.
When asked what makes you so interested in weather, Mr Bennet explained it’s the thrill of trying to predict the unknown.
“You’re always looking forward into the future, pitting your wits against the atmosphere,”
“It is very gratifying at the end of a long shift to think ‘we did a good job and got the forecast right’ and knowing that people are taking need of the information you’re giving them,”
Mr Bennet recounted a memory while working in the UK where he was doing maintenance on a piece of equipment out in an airfield.
“It had been snowing heavily, as I walked out there I fell into a rather large hole which was covered by the snow,” he laughed.
Other fond career memories and highlights include being involved when tropical cyclone Yazzi crossed the Queensland Coast, doing interviews when the MH370 went missing, and having a segment on ABC TV.
He said it’s opened a lot of doors for him, which he’s very grateful for.
So how does being a meteorologist for 40 years feel?
“Pretty old… especially looking at many of the colleagues I’m working with now, many of whom weren’t even born when I first started working,”
“It’s sobering when you look back at 40 years and what feels like has been a blink of an eye, there have been many challenges but it’s safe to say it’s a job I’ve enjoyed every single day,”
“I did say to a colleague of mine the other day that if I had done 40 years of this and not enjoyed it then I was a fool… but I love coming into work,”
“I really enjoy explaining weather to people I think that’s a great part of my job,”
“Even though it may seem the weather is the same during each season in Perth, there are subtle little variations so everyday is different and every year is different,”
When asked how much longer Mr Bennet sees himself working, he said there’s no way I’m getting to 50 years.
“My children are growing up, my wife and I are now looking forward to travelling in the near future,”
“I think there’s a few years left in me, I don’t think i’ll get to 50 years,” he concluded.