ATC IssuesA place where pilots may enter the 'lions den' that is Air Traffic Control in complete safety and find out the answers to all those obscure topics which you always wanted to know the answer to but were afraid to ask.
I "wasted" my time in the last years doing a technical PhD program, however, all the traveling around the world gave me a passion to work in the aviation industry. In particular, ATC looks like something I could see myself really enjoy doing. However, looking at most of the training programs it seems that I am too old to apply for most of them. (I just turned 31, born 1981). I am an EU citizen, and in Switzerland you have to be between 18-30, in Germany not older than 24, at Eurocontrol the age limit is 25 I think. I am not sure about the UK though, whether it is 30 or 35.
Anyway, what I am trying to figure out is whether there is any training program within the EU that I could apply for at my age. I am quite flexible, do not have family, so if there is a chance to become an ATC I would like to go for it!
I was recently in a similar situation to you - I applied for NATS in the UK at the ripe old age of 30, and by the time I had completed the application process ( I took my time as I reckoned it was my last chance) I was almost 32 by the time I started at the college. Passed the Aerodrome course 8 days after my 32nd birthday and validated before I was 33.
What the above rambling is trying to say is that, if you have the will and tenacity to take on all the inconvieninces that starting training brings with it: relocation, tiny salary (by most 30 year-old's standards) and a whole heap of hard work then age is no barrier and at the end of it you get one of the best jobs in the world.
I know that NATS had their age limits challenged under equal opportunities legislation. How Eurocontrol and other ANSPs continue to get away with it is beyond me.
If you want any further info specific to being an old codger (because you will feel a bit like that during training) then drop me a PM.
Just out of interest, what is the 'tiny' pay for training.
I am soon to turn 34 and have been thinking of applying but I have a family and a mortgage and am not keen to move away. But I am familiar with operating on an Airfield and I have this notion I could manage in Air Traffic Control. Might consider giving it a go if it suits.
Better news! If you get to a "band 5" Centre the salary eventually climbs to around £100k p.a. Plenty of time off too.......during the quiet months between October and March lots of sectors are joined together.....you only do a few hours per week. Once you get used to the job it is actually quite easy, however the initial struggle to get to a life on Easy Street is like climbing a vertical cliff in a snow storm.....and many fail. Good luck...whatever you do.
NATS Cadet pay scale has amazed me of late, I started my cadetship in 1987 and took a £3000 pay drop, from LATCC ATCA scale, to £9600 plus expenses! Here we are 25 years later and cadets not getting much more!!
Good luck if you decide to go for an ATC job, it's a great career, that few leave. However, I would strongly disagree that it's easy, the day you think like that, no matter where or how busy a unit you end up at, that's when you should be very careful, you are always only one transmission from a f**k up.