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ANS v NATS

Old 25th Jul 2019, 07:33
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Why would he wish to give out such information? Seems a few on here have an agenda where ANS is concerned. Personally, I think they’re a breath of fresh air in a market that really needed it.
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Old 25th Jul 2019, 07:44
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Originally Posted by handleturning View Post
Why would he wish to give out such information? Seems a few on here have an agenda where ANS is concerned. Personally, I think they’re a breath of fresh air in a market that really needed it.
Why such defence and why would he not give out such information? He has given out other such information in his 3 posts.

Seems there are few people here that think everyone have an agenda where ANS is concerned.
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Old 25th Jul 2019, 09:45
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Originally Posted by Rwy1234 View Post


Why such defence and why would he not give out such information? He has given out other such information in his 3 posts.

Seems there are few people here that think everyone have an agenda where ANS is concerned.
He hasn't given out 'other such information'. I would imagine any organisation would consider that information to be 'of a sensitive nature', so to encourage a junior (sorry DanJaws I may be judging you here) member of staff to publish is somewhat inappropriate.
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Old 25th Jul 2019, 11:13
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Originally Posted by handleturning View Post
He hasn't given out 'other such information'. I would imagine any organisation would consider that information to be 'of a sensitive nature', so to encourage a junior (sorry DanJaws I may be judging you here) member of staff to publish is somewhat inappropriate.
Apology not needed! Although I’ve not been called junior for a while, haha! As I said before, percentage wise the rate is said to be similar to NATS.

As you say, I’m not sure what people’s problem is with competition, I can only see it as a good thing for ATC in the UK.

Last edited by DanJaws; 25th Jul 2019 at 15:43.
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Old 25th Jul 2019, 17:09
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The way ANS are handling LGW can only be seen as a great thing for NATS. It wouldn’t surprise me in the slightest if the contract comes back their way either at renewal or even possibly before.
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Old 25th Jul 2019, 17:28
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Originally Posted by handleturning View Post
I would imagine any organisation would consider that information to be 'of a sensitive nature', so to encourage a junior (sorry DanJaws I may be judging you here) member of staff to publish is somewhat inappropriate.
Sensitive being a very appropriate word to describe your response to what was an innocent query.

Perhaps DanJaws or indeed anyone less sensitive than handleturning, could divulge what the success, failure or resignation rate was when NATS ran Gatwick? Or is this the nations top secret.

Last edited by Rwy1234; 25th Jul 2019 at 17:39.
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Old 25th Jul 2019, 17:41
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Originally Posted by Rwy1234 View Post
Perhaps DanJaws or indeed anyone less sensitive than handleturning, could divulge what the success, failure or resignation rate was when NATS ran Gatwick? Or is this the nationals top secret.
Perhaps danJawes doesn't know the answer?
Perhaps it's not accessible information?
Perhaps nobody else on here cares?

I haven't been to gatters for a few years but keep in touch with some who are still there - and the numbers are slightly lower under the new lot. Perhaps one dan jaws can answer - what is the general moral like? There were some right characters there back in the day who were the typical "don't need to learn your name because you won't validate" type. I never got involved in training but some of the new fish from the training college were treated was pretty poorly.
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Old 25th Jul 2019, 18:27
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One of the threads at the time of the original takeover in 2016 stated they had recruited ATCOs from such airports as Cambridge. Word on the street is there have been far more resignations than validations. Can anyone confirm?
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Old 25th Jul 2019, 19:42
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Well.. Nats applications are now closed so the dilemma is over
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Old 26th Jul 2019, 05:16
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Originally Posted by T250 View Post
One of the threads at the time of the original takeover in 2016 stated they had recruited ATCOs from such airports as Cambridge. Word on the street is there have been far more resignations than validations. Can anyone confirm?
A question some posters here (likely to be ANS Managers) have said is to be “sensitive information” so will likely attempt to prevent answer again.

IMHO this is a fair question, I don’t understand why it would be sensitive. I wonder if the question has been asked by candidates at interview or if it was too “sensitive” to answer.
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Old 26th Jul 2019, 07:35
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It is sensitive, but only because the validation rate has been low (reportedly from very good sources) and the resignation rate higher than you’d expect. Consequently, ATCOs are having to work full shifts and moral is low (reportedly from very good sources ��)
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Old 26th Jul 2019, 09:03
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Originally Posted by Rwy1234 View Post


A question some posters here (likely to be ANS Managers) have said is to be “sensitive information” so will likely attempt to prevent answer again.

IMHO this is a fair question, I don’t understand why it would be sensitive. I wonder if the question has been asked by candidates at interview or if it was too “sensitive” to answer.
I think you've answered your own question. There's a difference between asking such a question at interview (a genuine question, borne out of a professional desire to understand career prospects) and expecting it to be put on the internet. DO you genuinely not understand that the success rate of controller validation, in such a competitive recruitment market, is a very sensitive number?
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Old 26th Jul 2019, 14:53
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Originally Posted by GAPSTER View Post
The way ANS are handling LGW can only be seen as a great thing for NATS. It wouldn’t surprise me in the slightest if the contract comes back their way either at renewal or even possibly before.
Maybe ANS should bid to run Swanwick

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-49122644
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Old 26th Jul 2019, 19:01
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Originally Posted by handleturning View Post
Maybe ANS should bid to run Swanwick

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-49122644
Different company; NERL runs LACC at Swanwick, NSL runs the airport and APS side.
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Old 28th Jul 2019, 10:26
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I have little knowledge of the Gatwick operation today so cannot offer any insight or answers to the questions that some feel need to be asked.

BUT, I started off a career in ATC some 40+ years ago. I was a NATS cadet (for those that care) and got posted to an aerodrome which was known as a cadets' graveyard and, before too long, joined the many before me that got chopped. To an extent, it was a case of if your face didn't fit you were not going to make it through the training. In fairness though, I did not perform well and now can see some of the reasons for this. There was undoubtedly a culture which made successful completion of the training contingent upon getting (sometimes struggling) over a number of hurdles, with little help from the unit as a whole.

Despite this setback, I was able to gain a licence with all the ratings for an aerodrome and went on to work fairly successfully at a number of airports around the UK for the best part of 20 years. I note as a matter of interest for those less familiar with the system that this would be impossible today. Later I worked in a wide range of other roles, including, strangely enough, training, but all still connected with ATC and aviation. I have seen concepts such as 'Train for success' rather than failure being tried and promoted, and lots of changes to training systems for ATC and other disciplines....but still failure rates are high. I was not alone in failing to complete the NATS but subsequently going on to a successful career as a controller and it is worth pondering why, with all of the resources and expertise that NATS had, it could not reap a return on its investment in my training. I don't know if ANS faces the same challenges but, assuming its staff were in part, at least, inherited from NATS, I guess the culture of that organisation may also have been inherited.

What I find quite stunning is to read in this thread that the attitudes of some of those in ATC is little changed after 40 years. And that some people feel able to support it, or at least, content with it. Some of the people I started off with are now managers (or recently retired managers), and it seems that they chose, or were unable to, do anything to change things. Perhaps its a case of 'I went through it and it never did me any harm', but surely someone, somewhere at the right level recognises that this culture is not good - and, more importantly to a manager, inefficient. That is not so suggest that everyone who starts training should ultimately go on to hold a licence, or be able to hold a C of C at Gatwick, but the failure rates that are suggested to exist surely could be reduced.

I could go on - or even suggest what could be at the root of today's problems - but I won't bore you!
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Old 28th Jul 2019, 10:32
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Originally Posted by chevvron View Post
and when we were at 4 miles (the previous lander just vacating), they still managed to get 2 departures away before we were cleared to land.
Hopefully this skill has been carried over to ANS controllers.
Skill? I would argue this is quite the opposite. The only way this would be skilful (and I use the term very loosely) is if the two ahead are helicopters or light GA. I control at a busy London airport and I can tell you now this type of controlling is neither encouraged nor trained.

As for ANS....... watch this summer I think.
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Old 28th Jul 2019, 10:41
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Originally Posted by LookingForAJob View Post

still failure rates are high.
This is because the training styles and learning employed in the ATC world are still stuck in the 1950's.... I mean rote learning lists from MATS1 at the college?! And then at unit being plugged in and training OTJ regardless of what comes along on the frequency. Bonkers. I liken it to being a brand new learner driver, and on your first lesson being told we are going to drive on the motorway, do clutch control, mirrors, indicating, roundabouts etc etc but don't worry i'll help you along the way. The effect is sensory overload, workload saturation, stress etc which do not result in learning or skill development. People make the grade because they are, in many cases, dragged across the line and those who are chopped are often because they have fallen victim to training methods not fit for purpose in such a modern industry.

A more modern, structured, approach to learning is much needed with better use of technology available to make the whole OJT learning process more effective, developmental and incremental.

Kudos to you though for sticking with it and having a great career

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Old 29th Jul 2019, 03:45
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Originally Posted by Flying184 View Post
This is because the training styles and learning employed in the ATC world are still stuck in the 1950's.... I mean rote learning lists from MATS1 at the college?! And then at unit being plugged in and training OTJ regardless of what comes along on the frequency. Bonkers. I liken it to being a brand new learner driver, and on your first lesson being told we are going to drive on the motorway, do clutch control, mirrors, indicating, roundabouts etc etc but don't worry i'll help you along the way. The effect is sensory overload, workload saturation, stress etc which do not result in learning or skill development. People make the grade because they are, in many cases, dragged across the line and those who are chopped are often because they have fallen victim to training methods not fit for purpose in such a modern industry.

A more modern, structured, approach to learning is much needed with better use of technology available to make the whole OJT learning process more effective, developmental and incremental.

Kudos to you though for sticking with it and having a great career
Our UTP required the mentor to take over when traffic got to certain levels, depending on how much training the U/T had carried out. I assume this is 'standard' for UTP at all NATS units.
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Old 29th Jul 2019, 15:15
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Originally Posted by chevvron View Post
Our UTP required the mentor to take over when traffic got to certain levels, depending on how much training the U/T had carried out. I assume this is 'standard' for UTP at all NATS units.
Absolutely! I would say (hope) standard for any OJTI regardless of ANSP or unit!

My point was merely in relation to the way in which training is conducted as an industry, not specific to any unit, ANSP, college etc. Just feels very archaic compared to the way in which pilot training is conducted, but that is just my opinion.

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Old 31st Jul 2019, 09:49
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Originally Posted by LookingForAJob View Post
I'm afraid I think there's a lot more to it than simply stepping in and taking over when it gets busy or complex...however that is determined.

I understand exactly what you're saying. But I'm not sure that learning by rote to start with is such a bad thing. Everything else I'm 100% in agreement with. In the years since I went through the basic training I've seen a number of big changes (particularly with respect to NATS' trainees).

Back in my day, your description fitted my experience perfectly - sit in, often with a mentor who didn't like or didn't want to do training, do the best you could until you did something wrong when the mentor took over and then maybe gave it back to you, but rarely had any explanation of what happened, why or how to have handled it better. Alternatively you were left until you were out of your depth and the mentor had to rescue you which did little to build one's confidence. Unless you were a natural at the job it was an uphill struggle, made harder still sometimes if you had the temerity to say you weren't happy with the training. Of course, it wasn't all as bad as that but there were plenty of days when that was the only memory! There seemed to be a disconnect between the college, mainly theory and sim-based teaching, and the trainers in the real world. The way I sum this up now is to point out that it is very difficult to remember how little you knew on your first day out of the college. As you mention, one could quote passages from the book but had little understanding of what it meant when applied to the real world. Somewhere along the way those who go on to have successful careers learn how to apply the theory to the real world and a lot more besides. The unit training for a previously unqualified person needs to take them from that very green and keen college trainee and feed them everything that us old hands know in a way that makes sense and at a rate that can be assimilated effectively.

Then, I guess in the mid-80s, we got UTPs. Lots of training/learning objectives and, sometimes, even performance standards to be achieved. It was a lot of hassle to put together but, if the UTP truly covered all of the activities at the unit - including those that don't happen very often - it could form the basis of a good training programme with material being fed in at the right time. But not everyone put together a tailored UTP, and there was a fair bit of cutting and pasting going on where only the unit name changed! About the same time we got an OJTI rating/endorsement - initially, IIRC, given to those who asked and could show previous experience in OJT, and later issued following completion of a training course. So, I remember a few reluctant mentors who, willing or otherwise, got OJTI tickets because of their past experience and others who actively tried to get the ticket because they enjoyed the power/authority, even if not the training. And then, because it went on the licence, people wanted more money if they had the ticket. Sadly, little of this bore any relationship to whether anyone had the skills or ability to train effectively.

In the 90s, a decision was made in NATS to shorten the time that trainees spent at the college. The reasons for this seemed to vary depending who you spoke to but it was at the time NATS units became separate business units, and managers had to manage the money. The units had to pay the college for each trainee. So, before long, unit managers started trying to find ways to save some of that money by reducing the time trainees spent at the college. This, of course, meant that the trainees came out of the college even greener than before (but hopefully still keen). This was fine for the unit managers because, they said, it enables the unit to provide more bespoke training for their people. I presume that the UTPs for these units were suitably expanded to meet the needs of both the units and the trainees.

We've now got approved courses which must be followed at certified training organisations. This has increased the costs involved for everyone, and blocked a route into the industry which I followed, but - hopefully - has improved the quality of training and, ultimately, better prepared the people providing services for whatever they may be faced with when doing the job and thus provide a safer service. Because those last couple of points is what it's all for - right?

We've now also got EU regulations to cover all of these things - running to over 450 pages of law and guidance. Whatever one may think about the EU, I would point out that the UK took the lead in many of the concepts in the EU legislation and had implemented them in the UK rule framework long before EASA had any involvement with ATM. So the UK has a mature training system in place.

And the CAA carefully oversees industry operators, using safety arguments put forward by ATC units to justify what bespoke training is needed for their respective locations, challenged when appropriate if the CAA experts are not convinced by those safety arguments (a bit like what the FAA does with Boeing) and not approving something if it does not meet the necessary safety standards.

As I say, a lot has changed over 40 years or so. But it sounds like the training experience for some, at least, of today's trainees is much the same as it was all those years ago. It's a bit of a shame, isn't it?
This is a really interesting post and gives a great insight into the history of where we are at. For what it's worth I totally agree with all of your sentiments.

I do agree that there is some worth in rote learning lists at the college to begin with, but I would like to see (as you rightly point out) more of a link between this and real world applications. As I said in my original post, there is a significant difference in the training styles/technologies used in pilot training compared to ATC. I have also been searching lately for research/articles/publications into the study of training of ATCOs and can find very little if anything. Yet the pilot industry has many research articles and publications. Definitely a big gap for some research into ATC training!
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