Last month, the Marine Management Organisation (MMO) visited the University of Exeter at our Penryn Campus to deliver a hands-on role-playing workshop for around 60 students, studying MSc Conservation and Biodiversity, MSc Marine Environmental Management and MSc Renewable Energy Engineering courses. 

The day started with an introduction to marine spatial planning and the workshop from Paul Gilliland, Head of Marine Planning and Strategic Renewables for the MMO. Throughout the day, students played an interactive Marine Spatial Planning board game, facilitated by Mae van Loef, Zia Fikardos, Charlotte Stadden and Ellie Hoad, all from the Marine Planning Team. 

Using a role-play game in this way is a great demonstration of engaging methods for learning that can bring together students from different disciplines to tackle real-world challenges. The students were immersed in the dynamics and complexities of marine planning, gaining insights into the diverse considerations and stakeholders involved in this crucial process. The game encouraged students to work collaboratively across disciplines, apply their knowledge, and develop strategic solutions to real-world marine planning challenges. 

Charlotte, Ellie, Mae, and Zia are all relatively recent alumni from courses at the University of Exeter. They shared their experiences transitioning from the university environment to successful careers at the MMO. Their presence served as a testament to the employability of Exeter University graduates and the valuable skills they bring to the marine planning sector. 

Ellie Hoad (SW Coastal Planner) : Biology Undergrad (Streatham) (2017-2020), then MSc Marine Env Management (2020-2021)

Mae van Loef (SW Coastal Planner) : MSc Conservation and Biodiversity (2018-2020)

Charlotte Stadden (S Coastal Planner): Zoology Undergrad (2016-2019), then MSc MEM (2021-2022)

Zia Fikardos (S Coastal Planner): Marine Biology Integrated Masters (2018-2022)

The feedback from staff and students was excellent. The exercise provided students with valuable insights into marine planning, enhanced awareness of the MMO, and demonstrated the MMO’s commitment to engaging with future marine leaders. We have already been asked if we would repeat the exercise next year!