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NATS interview process

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NATS interview process

Old 28th Dec 2007, 20:31
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Hi.

I have been reading a lot of Gonzo's replies and there seems to be a lot of emphasis on preparation. i was wondering what Gonzo done in preparation for his final interview?
To explain: NATS' recruitment process is not looking for ATCOs. It is looking for candidates with certain attributes which statistics show give a better chance of coping with, and ideally thriving in, the ATC training environment. Therefore I, as an interviewer, am not expecting someone to know as much about ATC as I do. However, as an interviewer, it really does not please me when I am faced by a candidate who has done zero preparation of his/her own bat, doesn't really know what the job of an ATCO is, doesn't really know about the company they're apparently hoping to work for, and doesn't really know what has been happening elsewhere in the aviation industry.

I applied in mid 1997, whilst taking my A-Level exams. I went through the selection process in the last few months of '97, and started at the college in April 1998.

My preparation:
A lifelong passion in aviation. I'd been going to airshows and airports since I could remember. I had an airband radio so I could listen in to ATC. I had some flying experience. I had worked at a flying school for a period. I thoroughly researched NATS as an organisation....which airports it had a contract with, the rough boundaries of the FIRs. I also read quite a few books on ATC (Graham Duke is the perennial favourite), and subscribed to Flight International and AvWeek. I knew what were the coming events and big projects in both UK, European and worldwide ATC in the next few years (the then EATCHIP, RNAV, MLS, CFMU, IFPS, NERC etc). I had visited quite a few control towers both with Procedural Approach units and Approach Radar units, I had also visited London Terminal Control and London Area Control when both were located at West Drayton. I knew exactly what an ATCO's job was, and I definitely knew that I wanted to be one.

All the above sounds a great deal. However, because I was such an 'anorak', as one might say, I would have done a lot of it anyway, regardless of what career I was aiming for. It certainly didn't seem like work at all.

Away from the aviation side of things, I am also continually surprised by the lack of basic generic interview preparation that I see. There are many websites out there that will give the candidate guidelines on what sort of things every interview covers.

Being an ATCO entails lots and lots of planning and preparation while actually doing the job. Why not start now?
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Old 29th Dec 2007, 12:54
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Thanks Gonzo,

Its great that we can speak to guys like you who are doing the job and have been since such an early age. My interview is not until February, however I have started to prepare already. I have bought a CD - Rom called "How to become an air traffic controller" which is really helpful, I'm also beginning to read up on the technical side of things, technology used, major events in aviation etc. My only stumbling block is that I'm based in Glasgow and I really want to get into the tower at either Glasgow or Prestwick airport. I would also love to get into the control centre at Prestwick just to get a real feel of how you guys do the job. The only thing is I don't really know how to go about getting the opportunity to visit these places. I'm going to look into it today but if you could give me some contact details, that would be much appreciated.

Ill also have a look on-line and try and get a hold of a couple of books by Graham Duke, if you think that will help.

Thanks again for your help Gonzo, I really appreciate it.
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Old 30th Dec 2007, 23:57
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Question Jan start?

Anyone starting on the January course on the 2nd? Whats going on with it, did they halve the intake again, like they did for September? Shortage of instructors maybe? Can anyone shed any light? Thanks.
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Old 31st Dec 2007, 00:11
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As far as I know, it's a combination of different factors: Course redesign, so some instructors are working on that, and also there are quite a few trainee 'holding' between courses, so spare capacity 'built in' to the Jan course will be used up by those.
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Old 31st Dec 2007, 18:24
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1967kev - I read the Graham Duke book and agree that it was extremely useful so I definitely recommend it. I understand that some of the info contained is out of date but it helped to whet the appetite and gave snippets of info and helped gain basic understandings of subjects that I could then go and research further (mainly in the internet).
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Old 2nd Jan 2008, 16:11
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Gonzo's "anorak" reply does reveal a little too much about his hobbies. Can someone make sure he goes home after his shift?
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Old 2nd Jan 2008, 19:11
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For any applicants who are wanting more of a feel for the job check out This Simulation. I've been using it for a couple of years, it's about as close as you'll get on your PC especially with the Voice Addon. There is a free demo too.
 
Old 2nd Jan 2008, 20:47
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Thanks NeoDude! I downloaded it a few weeks ago before my stage 1 then got scared pretty quickly! Not been on it since as too busy revising for stage 2 however, instead of being scared, I'm more excited about learning how to use it...! Sad or just interested?!
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Old 3rd Jan 2008, 12:59
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NeoDude, check your PM's!!
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Old 4th Jan 2008, 13:22
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Anyone starting on the January course on the 2nd? Whats going on with it, did they halve the intake again, like they did for September? Shortage of instructors maybe? Can anyone shed any light? Thanks.
It's actually starting on the 9th Jan now and like Gonzo said there is apparently a new course format that they are trying out. Although I've also heard that there will be only 17 of us starting next week
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Old 4th Jan 2008, 14:03
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It will be a new basic course format, different to the basic course i just finished, as i understand the situation its purely area-based and leads more into area foundation than before. Although I personally know nothing about area foundation...

Is it your induction that starts the 9th or are you in college then? I'm back on Monday for Aerodrome, was beginning to wonder if there would be anybody around at all

You may be right about the 17, although I believe there may be 8 or so recoursees with you making it around 25.

Good luck with it, probably see you around college,

Adrian
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Old 4th Jan 2008, 16:09
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We're physically at the college on the 9th for a bunch of new test they are trialling, then a whole load of induction and introduction stuff. The actual learning I believe will be starting on the 17th.
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Old 4th Jan 2008, 16:13
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Got a phone call today asking if I can start at the college in April. Anyone else in the same boat?

That makes it about 7 months from applying, to actually starting...quicker than I thought!
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Old 4th Jan 2008, 16:52
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Got a phone call today asking if I can start at the college in April. Anyone else in the same boat?

That makes it about 7 months from applying, to actually starting...quicker than I thought!
There are already quite a few of us holding for the Spring course, should have been starting in January, although the plans changed as discussed above. We were told March although wouldn't be surprised if thats slipped to April!
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Old 4th Jan 2008, 17:34
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Yeah the three day induction at the village hotel, seems so long ago but its about 3 months! Nice place though...

My app-to-start was a shade over 5 months, could have been 2 but i couldnt start in June. Some people we're even quicker... comes down to pot luck as to how full the courses are. 'Holding' is a much-heard term amongst our course going into area
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Old 4th Jan 2008, 19:28
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I'm hopefully starting Apr. Its taken me over a year to there!!
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Old 4th Jan 2008, 21:42
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I'll be starting in April too apparently. Have heard next to nothing about it though! I understand most people stay in B&Bs while they're training. What do they do for the other two meals of the day??

Ginger
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Old 4th Jan 2008, 22:08
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I think they usually eat them..........unless things have changed......





I'll get me coat
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Old 4th Jan 2008, 23:33
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Mr and Mrs Aramark will look after you for lunch...
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Old 5th Jan 2008, 11:43
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And I thought ATCOs were a witty bunch - http://www.pprune.org/forums/showthread.php?t=59309



It was supposed to be a faintly serious question. In B&Bs i've visited before, you get a room and a bathroom and that's it. Enough for a night but not to live with because you have no cooking facilities. Do some people rent or are they reluctant to get stung by council tax?
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