View Full Version : A new career? or too late?
8th Aug 2012, 16:26
I went to nats website and done a little research and have no prior experience in ATC. I went to University for web development, but i want a career and ATC. Nats was offering a Entry Level training and it seemed like an opportunity and really tough, so i applied thinking maybe...
I like the idea of learning something new, however i doubt they will except me? It seems like a job i would like, where i could make a difference each day.
I am now 22 years old, what can i do to help get me into this industry?
8th Aug 2012, 20:40
Just try it out, 22 is a good age.
You make it or you don't...
8th Aug 2012, 20:59
So your saying i can in no way prepare for this?:confused:
8th Aug 2012, 21:01
I joined at 31 - your still wet behind your ears
8th Aug 2012, 21:27
I'm not familiar with UK ATC thus don't know if there are any course materials out there.
9th Aug 2012, 00:02
Just apply! NATS take people from all walks of life and previous aviation experience doesn't always make a difference on how successful you'll be in ATCO training. If you want advice on what to expect through the recruitment process, the sticky thread at the top of this page will help.
22 is nowhere near too old. It's a good age in fact. Your biggest problem, if you are established in a career now, will be living on the trainee "salary" for a few years.
9th Aug 2012, 01:55
Before you apply, or if accepted for interview, before you go for interview, try to arrange a visit to ATC at Bournemouth. It won't guarantee you'll be accepted for training, but it would show the selectors you have done a bit of research before your interview, and it might also give you some idea of what you face if you are accepted.
9th Aug 2012, 07:34
Or why not visit a NATS unit, say at Southampton.
That might show you also know abut about the company.
9th Aug 2012, 12:24
I ordered a book "Air Traffic Control by Graham Duke" it is the latest addition. So i am hoping to pick up the lingo.
I filled out the application yesterday, so i am hoping to get a reply because i think i read the training would start in October and assessments during September 2012, i have ben skimming many articles so do not quote that.
What is the best way of contacting nats unit is Southampton? I do not live to far from Bournemouth air port. If i could turn up in person that woulkd show some dedication, which could not hurt?;)
9th Aug 2012, 17:59
Deep Inside Air Traffic Control Pt. 1 - YouTube
9th Aug 2012, 18:55
An ability to to communicate in English would be an advantage :)
9th Aug 2012, 20:46
I watched the series of videos. Thats what got me interested i liked the idea of many variables involved in air traffic control. Although the only thing i doubt is if i could remember all the pieces of the puzzle like she saids, but i figured training would give me that and it would become like a memory palace?
Tbh i like the idea that it is a job that i can be focused on for a career and that i can say i done something constructive at the end of the day.
I have had other job offers in other areas and they have given me this opportunity to work my way up, but this seems like something else entirely to experience. The only problem is I cannot wait on nats to get back to me if my CV has been selected.
I need to know for sure this is what I want 70:30; i am trying to find a decent simulator online.
9th Aug 2012, 22:55
Highly Skilled Air Traffic Controller - YouTube
10th Aug 2012, 01:04
Well, for a start, NATS don't accept CVs, so if you've sent one in, that's your first error...
As for "how do I contact a NATS unit", a bit of research and a phone call to NATS wouldn't appear that difficult...
10th Aug 2012, 01:30
Love it at 0:30 when all the ants run away!
10th Aug 2012, 07:28
your = you're = you are?
The Many Tentacles
10th Aug 2012, 07:28
If you're not 100% sure it's something you want to do, then don't. The amount of time and effort you need to put into get through the training at the College and live training at a unit means that if you don't really want to do it, then you won't.
70/30 won't cut it, I've seen it before
10th Aug 2012, 09:10
"The only problem is I cannot wait on nats to get back to me if my CV has been selected."
if you want to get on the TATCO scheme at NATS, you're gonna have to get used to waiting around!
10th Aug 2012, 18:23
Assuming you have filled in the application through www.atcocareers.co.uk (http://www.atcocareers.co.uk) then thats what you need to do. Visiting a unit is not just a case of turning up - there is security to consider, as well as people available to host etc etc. Best way is to get the contact number for the tower from the UK AIP.
However, I would suggest at least getting a reply and a stage 1 course datebefore visiting a unit. plenty of people fall at this hurdle and its a long way to the finish line.
Also, There is no way you will get a course this year. In fact, im not convinced you'll get a course next year. A job as an ATCO with NATS is as close as you can get to a job for life, with excellent pay and pension provision, good working conditions and a varied interesting role. With all of the above, as you can imagine with the current state of affairs over the past couple of years its fair to say interest has shot up somewhat.
Thats not to say you shouldnt apply, but you need to be realistic. Applications have only just opened and some poor souls have already been on hold for 18 months.
10th Aug 2012, 18:55
Im only 70% at the moment, but keen because I do not know it fully and cannot do so unless i was to actually be in that role (which no1 can) 100% sure would technically only be after I completed the course, this does not mean my enthusiasm is 70:30. I cannot experience being an ATC. I could not guarantee i would be the best at it, only i could try my hardest.
If you can be 100% sure about something you have not experienced your pretty happy go lucky ie I might completely blow the test so i cant be sure I am capable....
I have put my CV, through another portal on an agent website, which requests it before being forwarded to nats. I filled in the official form application (they ask eye sight etc...) on the website and they have another portal to upload CV on the website i filled in this so that i could be seen, so they may scan through these.
I think it is best to probably pass stage 1 too before i visit unit too.
At least i can go for another job in the meantime while i wait for 18+ months.
Cheers for info guys!
6th Sep 2012, 07:22
A bit of thread necromancy here, but just in case OP or others are intereseted...
Getting on to a NATS course is tough, you're right. Others have noted the 'salary' that is somewhat lackluster... You have to want this 100% and your effort has to be 110%.
But there's something else to consider: you have a degree in an area that I assume you are at least vaguely interested in having a career in. In the current economic climate having an 'irregular' CV can be a downside when looking for jobs, and you have to consider what you will do if you fail the course and find yourself back in the real world looking for a job Ė will a couple of years of ATC training on your CV send a message to potential employers that youíre not really interested in their area of work, or even that you have no clear idea what career path you are interested in?
Iím playing devilís advocate, but I have a little to base it on: I too had a university degree and some relevant work experience for my degree (international relations) before entering ATC training with the Danish ANSP, Naviair. Eight months ago I failed the course and tried to find work with pretty much anyone who might, possibly, be interested in hiring a masters graduate for something (anything). Most employers never responded to my CV (but thatís standard procedure these days). Others gave some feedback, and said they had no clue how to make use of someone who has been doing something so specialized for a few years. A few even asked if ATCOs are the guys with the ping-pong bats on the tarmac. Luckily, my combination of an academic background and some specialist knowledge of ATC landed me a job in the Danish CAA after about half a year, others who failed the course have not been so lucky.
Before anyone jumps on me, Iím not being bitter or trying to dissuade anyone from ATC: from what I managed to experience (basic training, local training, OJT) ATC is a great career choice. But I also think it is really important to seriously consider what plan B is in case you fail the course.
6th Sep 2012, 12:08
Yep! I do have a plan B, and i failed the online test. I had computer issues before I started, which made clicking the answers within 9 seconds really difficult if clicking them at all. They only allow Mac or Microsoft users do the test. I am going to go into another industry and apply again within a year, see if I can beat it under fair conditions.
I like the idea of ATC, the pay-check does seem great, but I actually did want to have a career in something I could be proud of. I am not in a position to be able to go to University, that is why the job looks really good too. £10k a year plus expenses to not be guaranteed a job, does not seem the best option right now.
An alternative way of looking at it is: '£10k a year plus expenses whilst receiving free training that would cost you many tens of thousands of pounds if you were to pay for it yourself.'
Don't be in any doubt, getting a place as a student ATCO with NATS is a jackpot akin to full ATPL sponsorship with an airline, which is why there is so much competition for places.
6th Oct 2012, 02:35
Never too late. If you have it you have it, being a spotter etc is certainly not a prerequisite. ATC can be a long hard road, and for all I love my job I don't know for sure if I would be pleased if my son followed suit. I suspect in 30-50 years max there won't be a job to aspire to. However, right now, if u can get an opening it's a pretty good job.
If you decide it is definitely what you want to do then go for it go via NATS, Serco , or whatever route opens up through your applications and investigations. Nothing ventured nothing gained.
For what it's worth, my career came about through speculative application, tip offs from friends of friends, and being in the right place at the right time.
Best of luck
7th Oct 2012, 10:45
To all you people out there thinking of applying to Nats or other ansp. Think very very carefully. The job description that is given now will be very very different to the job you will actually be doing in 10,15 or twenty years time. I am involved in some future project work that has opened my eyes massively to what lays ahead. I am in no way trying to put people off as I have had a great career ( 25 years so far ) but would hate to see young people entering a career to see it change very dramatically over the coming few years. If you decide to enter the job may i suggest you gain some other qualifications that will enable you to in some way future proof yourself against the coming tide of change. Be that technology skills or even god forbid management or business skills. The shop floor ATCO is not going to be the valuable and highly skilled person they have been in the past over the coming time. Good luck with your endeavours anyway and just a bit of friendly advice from an old timer!
7th Oct 2012, 18:14
I think we've heard all this doom and gloom before! I bet all the exWW2 guys that were the backbone of ATC in the late 60s/early 70s were saying the same about Mediator!
Then there was 'Tunnels in the sky', whatever happened to that?
When I went down to the EU for trials pre- Approach Radar units going into CCF, there was kit being trialled that was called ASA or something similar ie. sequencing for LL was going to be done from miles out automatically. This was 1992 and when I got my 'early go' in 2000 it hadn't taken over and if what I'm told by No2 son is correct, sequencing is still done 'by hand'.
About the only thing that did come true in aviation was the demise of the navigator - sadly:(
7th Oct 2012, 18:25
Brian, take a look at what's happening right now - pilotless drones, Google cars - and think what sort of mobile telephone you were using twenty years ago.
Remember the Motorola 'brick' phone? No internet or games on that, and you certainly couldn't lose it in your briefcase.
It'll come, whether or not we like it, because Commerce Rules.
On the beach
7th Oct 2012, 18:38
Ooh, get 'im an' 'is briefcase. :E
Now where's me lunchbox?
NATS spotter :sad:
7th Oct 2012, 20:20
its not doom and gloom at all. These are fascinating times for atc.Has your son told you about ifacts? despite all the negative things said about it it is the first step on a road towards automation or at least semi-automation. I too lived through ccf and various other attempts at introducing changes. The difference over the next few years will be the pace of change . As long as people entering the job now are aware of it and plan accordingly it wont be a problem. I dont see why you put an angry smiley as if I had somehow besmirched the good name of atc. No job stays the same and i promise you that the job you entered and the job you left were very very different. I wasnt around for the start but was certainly well around in 2000. Anyway as our friends from across the water/border would say ' for you the war is over '.
8th Oct 2012, 08:31
You misread my 'smiley' - that was to indicate my regret that I was unable to have a career as a navigator when I left the RAF in '73.
Although I thoroughly enjoyed my career as a civilian ATCO, after training at Brum I became an Area man at LATCC and then was able to escape and 'retread' to airfields ( Stornoway, Boscombe Down and finally Heathrow),I would have preferred to have flown as a nav' with BOAC etc. Sadly I was born 20 years too late.:(
You are right,' For me the war is over', and most of my input onto Prune is of the nostalgia variety, however I like to encourage young people to pursue their dreams and not be put off by negative comments by often dour and embittered older ATCOs and aircrew (see Military Aircrew section).
My elder son had set his heart at age 8 on becoming a Jaguar pilot in the RAF, a dream that he was to realise at age 21. By then of course the Jag' had been around 20 years and was very much yesterday's technology, but thank goodness he was not put off by the 'There's no future in the RAF', 'the Jag is ancient' etc brigade.
I guess the automation already exists to stream aircraft in and out of busy airfields, but what may work in simulation will depend on the co-operation of the flyers. Will they happily sit there while ATC radars and aircraft transponders adjust headings ,throttle settings,rates of descent etc - I bet not - and although I'm not a betting man I would wager that the public will never fly in an aircraft without a pilot.
Mines the Chevy
Mike, you've forgotten how much of a technophobe I am! I do have a small mobile phone that cost £4 on a 'pay as you go' contract 4 years ago and which I only use in emergency when cycling or driving. My TV is my old rental one from over 10 years ago, I don't want an 'I' anything - why do we need them? And anyone who uses a satnav is obviously a total plonker!;) Remember maps?
BTW pilotless drones were around before you and I started our careers.
PS What is a Google car?
To the original OP - go ahead and try to pursue your dream.
8th Oct 2012, 13:11
re-read my initial post. Am certainly not embittered.( maybe considered old by my colleagues). Its an exciting time for the world of air traffic and I am very enthused by it all. HOWEVER- there is no getting away from the fact that it is a very different career to be entering now. I guess I would ask you that in the days when aircraft were being developed for two crew operations if you would have encouraged your sons to train as flight engineers. I have two young sons who If they came and asked me about training as atco's I would not discourage but i would most certainly give them a realistic picture of the job. I think the twelve years that have elapsed since you retiring have perhaps seen a pace of change that hasnt occured before. Its no different from many other jobs where technology is playing a larger and larger part in the role. Ask your ATCO son if he would see a future for his kids as atcos's.
re smiley. top one in subject box. Red angry face ? I am not fully checked out on smiley usage!
8th Oct 2012, 15:27
Just to add if you have an iPhone or iPad, check out this Approach Control App. I bought it a few months ago and love it. Seems very realistic.
APP Control Ė Air Traffic Control Game (http://www.appcontrolgame.com/)
9th Oct 2012, 09:44
PM on the way! Brian