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ATCO Shortage UK

Old 2nd Nov 2018, 23:01
  #101 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: The foot of Mt. Belzoni.
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One picture is worth 1,000 words. Well this one certainly is.

The day I started at CATC was one of the best days of my life. Not only because my 'careers teacher' told me it was beyond my ability to get there, but on that day I met some pretty amazing people. On day 1, I remember seeing this display, showing the nations that had sent their students to Hurn for ATC training. That instilled a sense of pride, because not only had I been invited to study there, but countless nations had sent students there also.

Recently I read with great sadness that the current NATS training facility can't even meet the demand to train it's own ATC staff, (let alone those of other nations), and sends students to sub-contractors in Gloucester and Jerez to meet capacity.....Or lack of it.

What on Earth is going on? Why have we 'lost the plot' in a field we once lead The World in?
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Old 3rd Nov 2018, 08:05
  #102 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Feb 2000
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Zooker, I believe part of the reason the college could not cope with the required domestic volume was that it still had to fulfil contracted
foreign training requirements...
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Old 3rd Nov 2018, 08:18
  #103 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
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Originally Posted by Not Long Now View Post
Zooker, I believe part of the reason the college could not cope with the required domestic volume was that it still had to fulfil contracted
foreign training requirements...
the above is true, however the reason the college had secured some lucrative overseas training contracts, was because NATS, had told the college that they had a surplus of controllers and would not be needing the college for a while.

We now have the situation that not only can NATS not train at the college but it can't release people from the units to go to the college as instructors, so those that took VR have been asked to come back. Quite a few have accepted.
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Old 3rd Nov 2018, 09:34
  #104 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Herefordshire
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Zooker

Laurie Shields there on the left of your photo', we bumped into him on the beach in Penang in 1988 - it must have been the 'lightbulb moment' when our then 15 year old son thought ' Being in ATC must be a good career if 2 ATCOs are sunning it in Malaysia ! '. Senior moment, I can't recall the names of the other two in the photo'.

Said 15 year-old son, having now been an ATCO himself since 1996, echoes several of the comments made above, particular those about too many ex-military ATCOs being in senior positions without much knowledge of how civilian ATCOs work, think and like to be treated.
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Old 3rd Nov 2018, 15:08
  #105 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
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Originally Posted by Brian 48nav View Post
I can't recall the names of the other two in the photo
John Rose and Eileen Gazzard
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Old 3rd Nov 2018, 17:04
  #106 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
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Thanks Malc! Next time we're at No2 son's we must get together - or you could come down to Herefordshire!
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Old 3rd Nov 2018, 21:48
  #107 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Dec 1999
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Oh, it’s alright folks....this shortage, we’ve just been imagining it....

Page 20 explains it...

https://ukimediaevents.com/publication/9150a03c/1

Gonzo is offline  
Old 3rd Nov 2018, 22:05
  #108 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Apr 2018
Location: UK
Posts: 122
It would appear on this forum that the people most bothered about this "shortage" are those retired and no longer in the job.
They seem to be the same ones bothered about changes and advances in technology and procedures.
Meanwhile ATCOs are moving more traffic than ever, with less staff than before and just as safely (if not more).
Things never stay the same, in any profession. Some German cars are no longer made in Germany. Nottingham Forest used to win European cups...
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Old 4th Nov 2018, 00:08
  #109 (permalink)  
 
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mike current,

ATC is a profession. Football is a distraction.
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Old 4th Nov 2018, 06:24
  #110 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
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Originally Posted by mike current View Post
It would appear on this forum that the people most bothered about this "shortage" are those retired and no longer in the job.
Meanwhile ATCOs are moving more traffic than ever, with less staff than before
I suspect "media policy" plays a part in that. Is headcount above, equal to, or below Operational Requirement at your unit? How is it around the patch?
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Old 4th Nov 2018, 08:38
  #111 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
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Originally Posted by mike current View Post
It would appear on this forum that the people most bothered about this "shortage" are those retired and no longer in the job.
They seem to be the same ones bothered about changes and advances in technology and procedures.
Meanwhile ATCOs are moving more traffic than ever, with less staff than before and just as safely (if not more).
Things never stay the same, in any profession. Some German cars are no longer made in Germany. Nottingham Forest used to win European cups...
oh I know all current ATCO's at my unit are very concerned about this shortage. With the planned retirements coming and even with constant training we will not be any better off in 5 years. However there is nothing to be gained by whinging about it.
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Old 4th Nov 2018, 09:04
  #112 (permalink)  
 
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Gonzo

Thanks for that link, my 15 year old grandson is in his GCSE year and showing an interest in a career in ATC ( like his Grandad and uncle and uncle's wife! ) and not too keen on the idea of going to university. I'll get SWMBO to send the link to him as it's way beyond my capabilities!

B48N
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Old 4th Nov 2018, 09:54
  #113 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Dec 1999
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Originally Posted by mike current View Post
It would appear on this forum that the people most bothered about this "shortage" are those retired and no longer in the job.
They seem to be the same ones bothered about changes and advances in technology and procedures.
Meanwhile ATCOs are moving more traffic than ever, with less staff than before and just as safely (if not more).
Things never stay the same, in any profession. Some German cars are no longer made in Germany. Nottingham Forest used to win European cups...
Where do you work, mike?
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Old 4th Nov 2018, 10:40
  #114 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
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Originally Posted by mike current View Post
It would appear on this forum that the people most bothered about this "shortage" are those retired and no longer in the job.
They seem to be the same ones bothered about changes and advances in technology and procedures.
Meanwhile ATCOs are moving more traffic than ever, with less staff than before and just as safely (if not more).
Things never stay the same, in any profession. Some German cars are no longer made in Germany. Nottingham Forest used to win European cups...
Nope.

The most people bothered about an ATCO shortage are the current ones as we have to deal with ever increasing traffic levels and ever decreasing staff numbers.

Caused by reducing the retention and recruitment of new ATCOs because technology that should allow us to reduce them either proves to require the same or more staff or is years behind in development. The procedures that we are against are in response to the lack of numbers and thought up by management to cover up for their short sightedness years ago.

​​​
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Old 4th Nov 2018, 12:41
  #115 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Apr 2018
Location: UK
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Originally Posted by good egg View Post


I suspect "media policy" plays a part in that. Is headcount above, equal to, or below Operational Requirement at your unit? How is it around the patch?
Always been short for the 12 years I've been in the job. Yet to experience a missed SCRATCOH break or a closure (unless it was completely unavoidable with multiple sickness at very short notice).
What I'm trying to say is, on this forum there always seems to be a lot of negativity about change and the way things are going. If you read PPRuNe you'd have thought we were never going to survive the new ATSOCAS or the introduction of hectopascals!!

I often read people on here saying "I'm glad I left when I did" etc.. well, I want to offer another view. I enjoy the job, maybe the conditions aren't as good as they were 20 years ago, but they are still some of the best across all industries. Of course we're short, we pull together and get on with it and we get through it. There are people in charge of recruitment and long term strategies and that's their job.
I still enjoy going to work and so do many of my colleagues across different units. It's not so bad, honestly.

Gonzo - UK. 8 years with Nats. 4 on the dark side
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Old 4th Nov 2018, 13:21
  #116 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Dec 1999
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mike,

Apologies, your original post seemed to be saying that only the retired cared about staffing levels, and that current controllers weren’t bothered.

I think I understand your point now. In today’s climate, you’ll seem more retired people posting more often, and yes, one needs to read PPRuNe with a filter in that regard.
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Old 4th Nov 2018, 19:00
  #117 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Herefordshire
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Mike current,

What you are experiencing is just life - over on Military Aviation the same thing happens. I bet your folks and other older family members keep saying 'Back in the old days...'. When I was a young nav' on Hercs the older guys, or what I came to call the Glenn Miller generation couldn't come to terms with my generation, 'The Beatles generation". Then when I started at LATCC in the 70s there was once again a great gulf between the older 'always wearing suits ' guys and us scruffy youngsters who grew our hair and eventually wore jeans and casual tops to work.

When I talk about football, sorry Zooker it is more important than life or death ( Bill Shankly ), I expect my off-spring get fed up with me saying in the old days ' nobody dived, the nearest player to the ball retrieved it for a throw-in, no-one argued with the ref' etc. Incidentally some of us used to go for a pint at lunchtime and then go back to work. I know it would be a sacking offence now - the world is constantly changing and I'll bet if my grandson, who I mentioned above, ever joins ATC he will get upset by people from your generation going on about the good old days. Cos' for sure as eggs is eggs you will be doing it.

I'm glad you love your career - just as we old farts did.
Brian 48nav is offline  
Old 4th Nov 2018, 19:36
  #118 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Oct 2018
Location: far far away
Posts: 68
I think 1985 on post 90 covers it really. We live our lives now by risk assessments and the apsa process all feeding in to the safety plan.

Management pay lip service as to how safety is number 1 priority whilst at the same time engineering every way they can to cut corners and save costs. Managers who know the price of everything and the value of nothing. I get what some people are saying about what it was like in their day but in my time within ATC I have seen massive and complete changes, some good and some absolutely abysmal.

The latest wheeze is that scratcoh is just a guide, if you feel ok then why not work 7 days in a row, have a 2 day break then start it all again. My last unit doesn't even have an OR published for staffing numbers.
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Old 4th Nov 2018, 19:58
  #119 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
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From Appendix K "Resourcing and resilience" of the RP3 Business Plan

https://www.caa.co.uk/uploadedFiles/...D%20261018.pdf

"The combination of these factors, and the fact that the number of ATCOs retiring or leaving the business has exceeded our
expectations (for example through changes in pension tax legislation), means that we currently have around 30 fewer ATCOs than we
need to deliver a high quality service with the right levels of resilience. Between now and the start of RP3, we expect the numbers of
retirements and other losses to exceed the rate at which we can train new ATCOs, increasing this shortfall to around 50 ATCOs. Lead
times of three years on average to recruit and train new ATCOs, and up to a further two years to achieve the level of sector validations
of experienced controllers leaving the business, have made it challenging to meet the operational requirement. We have managed
this, and will continue to do so, through increased productivity and overtime, and through improvements to our training and selection
processes. However, this is not a sustainable position, and we need to ensure we can provide the required level of operational
resilience with even higher forecast traffic levels."
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Old 4th Nov 2018, 21:44
  #120 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Dec 1999
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At least there’s some honesty there.

Not sure how they can claim there’s no shortage in the industry mag though......
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