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A new career? or too late?

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A new career? or too late?

Old 6th Sep 2012, 07:22
  #21 (permalink)  
Join Date: May 2009
Location: North of a border
Posts: 9
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.
bankrupttick is offline  
Old 6th Sep 2012, 12:08
  #22 (permalink)  
Thread Starter
Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: Bournemouth
Age: 30
Posts: 12
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.
LearningAllTheTime is offline  
Old 6th Sep 2012, 13:17
  #23 (permalink)  
Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: Around
Posts: 316
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.
rodan is offline  
Old 6th Oct 2012, 02:35
  #24 (permalink)  
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Glasgow
Posts: 3
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
bigbenmurphy is offline  
Old 7th Oct 2012, 10:45
  #25 (permalink)  
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: wimborne
Posts: 30
think carefully

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!
blueskythinking is offline  
Old 7th Oct 2012, 18:14
  #26 (permalink)  
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Herefordshire
Posts: 1,026
Angry blueskythinking

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
Brian 48nav is offline  
Old 7th Oct 2012, 18:25
  #27 (permalink)  
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: That France
Posts: 251
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.
Minesthechevy is offline  
Old 7th Oct 2012, 18:38
  #28 (permalink)  
Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: On a foreign shore trying a new wine diet. So far, I've lost 3days!
Age: 72
Posts: 394

Ooh, get 'im an' 'is briefcase.

Now where's me lunchbox?

NATS spotter
On the beach is offline  
Old 7th Oct 2012, 20:20
  #29 (permalink)  
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: wimborne
Posts: 30
doom and gloom?

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 '.
blueskythinking is offline  
Old 8th Oct 2012, 08:31
  #30 (permalink)  
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Herefordshire
Posts: 1,026

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.

Last edited by Brian 48nav; 8th Oct 2012 at 08:33. Reason: add further sentence
Brian 48nav is offline  
Old 8th Oct 2012, 13:11
  #31 (permalink)  
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: wimborne
Posts: 30
old and embittered?

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!

Last edited by blueskythinking; 8th Oct 2012 at 13:12.
blueskythinking is offline  
Old 8th Oct 2012, 15:27
  #32 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Canada
Posts: 1,007
iPhone App

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
206Fan is offline  
Old 9th Oct 2012, 09:44
  #33 (permalink)  
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Herefordshire
Posts: 1,026

PM on the way! Brian
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