Today I want to talk about NATS, the National Air Traffic Services provides the service for the UK Flight Information Region, the Shanwick Oceanic Control Area, and provides air traffic control services to fifteen UK airports and Gibraltar Airport.
NATS is a private company with the following share percentage: UK Government 49%, The Airline Group 42%, NATS staff 5%, Heathrow Airport Holdings 4%.
Today when i was looking at facebook NATS's page, I found out that they open their new ATCO online application, for those that are interested To apply to be a Trainee Air Traffic Controller, you need to be eligible to work in the UK. If you are unsure if you are eligible, this link may be useful: http://www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/visas-immigration/do-you-need-a-visa/
As well as being eligible to work in the UK you’ll need to be at least 18 years old at the date of application. You’ll also have at least five GCSEs, or equivalent, at Grade C or above, including English and Maths.
As well as a good level of physical and mental fitness, you must satisfy the basic medical requirements set down by the CAA for a European Class 3 medical certificate.
While we’re prepared to look at each case on its merits, the following guidelines will give you some idea as to whether you’re likely to meet the medical standards we require
Online Tests – Stage 0
After registering, if you have met our minimum requirements, you’ll be invited to take an online test which will involve error checking, verbal and numerical reasoning. The online test is the first filter in our process so it is important that you ensure that you are ready to take the test and that you are in a suitable location.
Online Test – Stage 1
Next, if you have been successful in the Stage 0 tests, we will then send you a further test that you need to complete. This assessment will test your Spatial and Diagrammatical reasoning.
For both Stage 0 and Stage 1,
you need to ensure that you are in an undisturbed environment where you will be able to take the assessment in full. You will be able to practice the assessments before you take them but there will only be 1 opportunity to take the actual assessment in full.
Assessment day – Stage 2
If successful at the Stage 0 and Stage 1 online tests, you’ll be asked to book a date to come to one of our assessment centres, which are held at our Corporate and Technical Centre in Whiteley, Fareham, Hampshire.
Here you will undertake a series of paper and computer tests.
Initially you will take an Air Traffic Control assessment. This is a paper based assessment and it is vital that you study in full the pre-learning material that we send to you in your invitation. Failure to learn this material will affect your ability to take this assessment.
You will then move on to take the first computer based assessment. This is a battery of tests from Eurocontrol called FEAST (First European Air Traffic Controller Selection Test) which tests various skills essential for being successful as an Air Traffic Controller.
If you are successful in reaching the required score levels in FEAST, you are then invited back in the afternoon to take a further computer test – DART.
Assessment day – Stage 3
If you were successful on Assessment Day Stage 2 you’ll be invited to book an appointment to attend the Assessment Day – Stage 3.
This will consist of a competency based structured interview with trained assessors from across the NATS business. These may include operational ATCOs, HR staff and members of the Human Factors group. If you reach the required score level at the competency based interview, you will then be invited to take further scenario based exercises.
During both the scenarios and the competency interview, you will be assessed against a set of the core competencies which make a successful operational ATCO.
If you’re successful on Assessment Day – Stage 3, you’ll be sent a conditional offer of employment – conditional on obtaining a Class 3 Medical Certificate and on obtaining Security Clearance.
You will be sent medical information to complete. Should you meet the basic medical requirements you will then be invited to book and attend a European Class 3 medical in our Swanwick medical department.
You will then be placed into a pool of applicants waiting to be allocated to a course. Once you have a provisional allocation to a course we will then continue with the formalities of security and reference checking.
If you’re not selected, please do not be too disheartened; the selection process is very rigorous. Due to the very high cost of training, we have to be as sure as we can about our selection decisions. Of course you can try again, subject to a maximum of three attempts at the selection process but a 24-month gap must be left after the date at which you failed in the process.
Initial training to become an Air Traffic Controller (ATCO) takes place at our College of Air Traffic Control at Whiteley, Fareham.
Students begin their training on the basic course which last approximately two months. On completion they will then be allocated to either an Area course or Aerodrome/Approach depending on the business requirement at that time.
Area students and Terminal Control students will then continue the college course for at least nine months, Aerodrome students for five months and eight months for Aerodrome/Approach students.
If successful at the college you will then undergo validation training at your unit, the length of which will depend on the complexity of the unit and how quickly you progress. The times quoted above are the minimum expected to train and could be longer if you have to repeat part of the course or hold for business reasons.
Many students are surprised by the volume of work required both at the college and in the evening. There is a considerable amount of legislation that must be learnt. It is unlikely you’ll pass the course unless you’re prepared to commit at least two to three hours per night, plus some time at the weekend. This is particularly true in the earlier courses where there is a higher theoretical content.
Your progress through training is assessed continually both through exams, practical assessments and oral tests. You must pass these before your training can continue. If you fail, we’ll review what happens next on a case-by-case basis. The college is currently achieving an overall success of 66%*. However we are continually reviewing the selection system and the training courses to improve the success rate.
So what are you waiting for, if you dream is to become an air traffic controller, go to NATS website.