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Old 7th Mar 2017, 15:07
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Join Date: Mar 2017
Location: North West
Posts: 2
So is it worth training to be an ATC?


I'll get the background stuff out of the way. I'm in my mid-20s, useless degree and I worked in radio for three years before being made redundant. Since then I haven't had much luck finding anything I can make a career out of. Retraining opportunities are few and far between when you're not eligible for an apprenticeship.

I looked at applying to be an ATC when I left university, but I kept coming up against people saying that the industry was so competitive that it wasn't worth it. More recently I've signed up to job alerts from the various online job boards and because 'radio' is one of my keywords, I'm receiving emails from NATS. I was curious so I did some more research and the overwhelming impression that I'm getting is that there's a shortage of ATCs and that it's fairly easy to break in to it.

I have a few questions, and I know there is a lot of information on the various websites but I'm interested in getting some anecdotal evidence from people who have been through the recruitment process.

Firstly, how invested are NATS in training you to the point of employability and potentially providing you with a job afterwards?

I was wondering what the financial implications are of taking on training. Do you pay for the training out of your own pocket, do you just pay for accommodation, or do they pay you a salary while training?

Secondly, is relocation something that all ATCs have to thing seriously about if they want to stay in work? I live in the North West, and there are a good few airports within easy commuting distance but I also have a family which makes things difficult if I wanted to up roots and move across the country. Granted I've not looked in depth at how many ATC jobs pop up around here, but I have noticed in passing that the majority seem to be out of commuting distance for me. It doesn't put relocating out of the realms of possibility for me, but it would put a potential spanner in the works.

Edit: Another quick question. There seems to be a lot of opportunities available in the UK at the moment, but is it possible that these opportunities might dry up during the time spent training?

Any help would be appreciated. I'm going through the NATs documentation at the moment to get a better idea of what I'd be in for.
Wibblesworth is offline