The Taunton Chamber of Commerce was delighted to be invited to tour the brand new premises of the UK Hydrographic Office on 18th September. Demand for places on this tour was very high, with ten member businesses signing up for the event as soon as it was publicised.
The visit was hosted by Lesley McIntyre, VIP Visit Manager and David Tomaney, Chief Operating Officer and gave the attendees a real insight into the world leading Marine Geospatial work carried out by the UKHO here in Taunton. Talks around the nature, and development of the Blue Economy and around Marine Geospatial Capability were given by Robyn Kind from the UKHO Research Team and James Carey, Head of Operational Delivery.
The visitors also heard from Laura Piper, Head of Talent & Organisational Delivery about the pioneering UKHO Apprenticeship Scheme, which offers qualifications up to degree level, and has opportunities for both new staff, and existing team members keen to progress and re-train. Laura also gave insight into the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) work that the UK Hydrographic Office undertake with local schools and colleges, inspiring the workforce of the future. Discussions took place around the opportunities for linking business and education, and how the UKHO and the Chamber of Commerce can support each other in ensuring that Taunton has a thriving local economy.
Following a delicious lunch, attendees had the opportunity to take part in two tours – firstly around the new award winning office buildings to hear about, and see how the UKHO put its employees first when planning the build. Secondly attendees had the opportunity to visit the UKHO Archive Building, a purpose build space, housing hundreds of catalogued maritime charts and artefacts, some of which had been produced by Captain Cook.
The Taunton Chamber of Commerce would like to thank the staff of the UK Hydrographic Office for their time, on what was a fascinating and inspirational visit.