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Becoming an Air Traffic Controller in Spain

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Becoming an Air Traffic Controller in Spain

Old 15th Nov 2021, 15:07
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Becoming an Air Traffic Controller in Spain

Hi,

My partner is Spanish and is looking into becoming an Air Traffic Controller in Spain. She is a native Spanish speaker and fluent in English.

I know FTEJerez do ATC training. Can anyone recommend other training facilities?

Also, would you recommend it as a career?

Cheers

MF
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Old 15th Nov 2021, 19:40
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It's better than working for a living ! Best job in the world.
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Old 16th Nov 2021, 07:05
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Ah the old boys mantra who have not been in the “real” ATC world for a while now.

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Old 16th Nov 2021, 08:11
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You are correct, Nimmer. The “good old days” are long gone, & the profession has suffered somewhat; but I still believe that there is plenty about it to enable new recruits to “enjoy” their careers in much the same way as I & my contemporaries did.
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Old 16th Nov 2021, 11:30
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About 10 or 12 years ago, a company at Cwmbran trained dozens of Spanish speaking people to become ATCOs, the result being a 'glut' and very few got jobs in the UK.
At the same time, FerroNats are operating a school in Spain and I believe they're still doing this as are Global ATS at Gloucester.
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Old 16th Nov 2021, 11:54
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Nimmer

Got out of bed the wrong side this morning? Your sarcastic comment was completely out of order!
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Old 16th Nov 2021, 15:46
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The state owned ANSP in Spain is ENAIRE. They provide ATC services at the majority of airports.

The main non state ANSP is FerroNATS.

Careers information available on websites of both ANSPs and neither looking like they are currently recruiting.



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Old 17th Nov 2021, 07:14
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Originally Posted by Brian 48nav View Post
Nimmer

Got out of bed the wrong side this morning? Your sarcastic comment was completely out of order!
out of order or just a bit too close to the truth??
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Old 17th Nov 2021, 09:16
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Nimmer,

I see you are 53, the age I was when I got my 'early go'. I can assure you that time will fly by and you will become one of those retirees you appear to despise, as they are no longer in the 'real' world of ATC.

My son and his wife, who are both ATCOs at TC, agree wholeheartedly with the sentiments expressed by KCockayne - it's a great job and beats working for a living. Mind you I keep telling them they will never be 'real' controllers until they have validated at a busy airfield. I can't find the smiley emojis so the last sentence is what us old guys call humour - something that is sadly missing today.
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Old 17th Nov 2021, 13:30
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A bit of a sweeping statement there. I don’t despise retirees, and I still think ATC has a lot to offer as a career.
However Kcockayne had it right in his second statement.
Anybody starting out into the world of ATC now, needs to enter with their eyes fully opened to the real challenges facing the controller in today’s world.

it most definitely not the job I started in 1991, and when I leave (17 months 12 days 10 hours and 30 mins) I will not be looking back through rose coloured spectacles.

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Old 17th Nov 2021, 13:43
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Trying to get back on thread, in discussions with potential recruits from Spain I have been left with the impression that despite all the qualifications they had gained, it was very much who you know that will get you an ATCO position. That may, of course, have changed post-pandemic.

Departing from thread again....the job is different now, with far more external factors impacting on your day to day task, many of which you would never have even considered when you first joined. Part of being an ATCO is flexibility and adaptation, and the ability to absorb new and evolving requirements. But at the end of the day, it is just work.
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Old 17th Nov 2021, 15:16
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Nimmer. It most definitely is not the job I started in 1971. That is most certainly a fact. I don’t know if I would be cut out to handle some of the aspects of the job, nowadays. My great reward is that I can look back through “rose coloured spectacles”, & know that I had the best possible career that I possibly could have had.
Boys. It was never “just a job” to me & many others. It was literally, the “best job in the world”. I am somewhat disappointed that the same does not apply to your perception of it; because you are missing out on what was my great good fortune. But, if you like it even half as much as I did, you are fortunate.
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Old 17th Nov 2021, 19:15
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KC
I acknowledge that for much of the time ATC doesn't feel like work. However, it does not harm to remind ourselves and our colleagues that it is paid employment, with all the negatives (and positives of course) that come with it. Many of us spend our working lives going the extra mile, only to find that the people who really call the shots....HR managers, finance managers, quality assurance managers and auditors, and the like....do not buy into our world.
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Old 17th Nov 2021, 19:32
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Your comments are, unfortunately, all too true. Sadly, they would have been true in my day, also. I think that the difference is that we were able to bypass the management, & , we had a bit more autonomy, which isolated us from management to a degree. So, we were much more able to "do our own thing" (within the rules, of course). We were aided in this by having such a large number of ex WW2 personnel , who stood no nonsense. I wish you all well & know that you are all doing a very good job.
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Old 17th Nov 2021, 20:05
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When I took the early go in 2002 it was because the service I joined was becoming "the company" and "the business" and being taken over by those identified by Hersham Boys.
For me, they were ruining the best job in the world, where we were a brotherhood with our European counterparts giving an excellent service to the public. I would always encourage anybody to aspire to be an ATCO but it ain't t the job it was.

​​​​​​Enuff said
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Old 8th Dec 2021, 07:58
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Spain is interesting...

The system works like this...

Enaire, the state provider, publishes a "Convocatoria" (no accents as I'm on an English keyboard and don't know how) whenever they want to recruit new ATCOs and they do it in large batches. In the last few years these have varied between 140 and 80 approx. They published their latest convocatoria last week and it closes on December 15th (Google Enaire Convocatoria) so your partner hasn't got long to apply. Applicant numbers typically vary between 1200 and 1800 but most are ruled out early on due to their level of English language proficiency which breaks them during FEAST.

It is a public process that takes place in phases, reducing the number of applicants at each phase. I haven't read the process for this year (the "Bases") but I think the phases are something like...

1 - FEAST 1
2 - FEAST 2
3 - FEAST 3, English language test and Psycho interview
4 - Group exercise and professional interview

Or a variation of the above. All tests take place in Madrid and take place over a three month period or so. You have to travell to Madrid for each phase. Maybe FEAST 1 and 2 take place on the same day, with those who don't pass leaving after FEAST 1 and the rest proceeding to FEAST 2, I'm not 100% sure, but either way you're travelling to Madrid at least 3 times if you get the job.

At each stage of the process the names of all applicants are published online for all to see. There is no way you can apply in secret. Also, all candidates are ranked in order from test one (best to worst). At the end of the process, all those who have passed the process are published. There may be more passes than places available i.e. they might publish a list of 100 "passes," but only the top 80 get the job offer. if anyone doesn't take up the job for any reason then they carry on down the list to number 81 etc, however number 81 might not find out until 18 months after the closure of the process that they are being offered the job because...

Once you get through and you are offered the job, you have 18 months from the date of the offer to return to ENAIRE with a student ATC licence that contains the following APP, APS, ACC, ACS, GMC, TCL, AIR (have I missed one? GMC?) basically, all the ratings. You pay for this yourself and if you fail the course you lose the money (75k euros approx) (but see below ref Schools). If you get the ratings and enter Enaire then subsequently fail, Enaire reimburse you the cost of the rating training. Enaire also have an agreement with the banks whereby if you take the loan for your training with their bank, you don't start repaying until you enter Enaire.

The schools...

FTE Jerez, Senasa, Entry point North (via Nelso) and Skyway (the FerroNATS school) exist, although I'm not sure how much training Skyway does for potential Enaire entrants as opposed to only for their own, non-state towers.

The schools are all private and compete with each other, therefore...it is no surprise that nobody (to my knowledge) ever fails a course. Everyone gets their ratings and enters Enaire. I have an opinion on the standard of training but that's not for here.

Thereafter you enter Enaire. Where you work depends on the following -

When Enaire know they are going to recruit they consult all of their units to find out how many vacancies they have. Let's say they have 120 across Spain. They then offer these vacancies to current Enaire controllers who want to move from their existing place of work to a new place e.g. malaga tower to Madrid ACC because they go up a pay grade. the right to move is based on seniority alone. Vacancies at Madrid are always taken by existing Enaire controllers, as are moves to ACCs like Sevilla whey the work life balance is great. After the internal process their remain 120 places, but these are now in different places from the original 120 that have been divied up between existing ENAIRE controllers.

Depending on where you finish in the ranking, you get to choose first where you want to work. This means that there is no link between the potentially "best" controller and the most complex work location. They tried to address this last time round by having a one day assessment using Enaire controllers to identify those with the most potential and limit their choices, however they were comparing people with ATC licences against people who hadn't even started a basic course so the results can only have been patchy at best - although this is only speculation on my part.

Once you are in, it is highly unlikely that you will fail your training. I've been in and around the process for 5 years or so now and I know of only three people who have failed their training after entering Enaire, and I'm fairly certain that this is everyone. This is 3 out of around 350, all of whom had entered from schools where I do not know of anyone who has failed a rating course.

Anyone up for a trip to Benidorm?
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Old 9th Dec 2021, 10:03
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It is very good post here, after ages.

Once you are in, it is highly unlikely that you will fail your training. I've been in and around the process for 5 years or so now and I know of only three people who have failed their training after entering Enaire, and I'm fairly certain that this is everyone. This is 3 out of around 350, all of whom had entered from schools where I do not know of anyone who has failed a rating course.
You have just confirmed what I thought. Job has moved from higly trainned specialists to anyone who enters in.

T&C reflects that move, too.

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Old 12th Dec 2021, 17:47
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It seems really weird to achieve that percentage of success. I'm not for an overly exclusive system, but where I'm training there is a significant failure rate problem among trainees, and it seems Spain has found an extraordinary solution to that.

On a side note, what would the economic conditions be, after paying 75k on one's own training?
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