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Gatwick Flow Rate?

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Gatwick Flow Rate?

Old 17th Sep 2023, 21:15
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Originally Posted by chevvron
I always found I had more trouble in training those with degrees than those who were ex ATCAs but the problem is, the aptitude tests 'suit' those with degrees so they get selected even if the're ex ATCAs with lots of experience or even FISOs with hours of experience.
On our terminal course, they set us some aptitude tests; we couldn't understand most of them.
Same thing happened with us - didn’t fill me with confidence that they had any idea about how to assess people !
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Old 18th Sep 2023, 10:36
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Originally Posted by Jonty
If people keep failing the training, it’s not the people at fault.

just a thought.
Correct

Originally Posted by Nimmer
NATS don’t actually provide the ATC for Gatwick, it is done by the subsidiary company NATS solutions. Different terms and conditions, but the same amount of planes to control. Basically cheap NATS!!
not sure how the recruitment is going!!
'It's not NATS, it's NATS Solutions' Hahaha!

Originally Posted by Del Prado
It might have been the big wheelbarrow full of cash too. 🤷‍♂️
Always, 'the golden wheelbarrow"...

Originally Posted by eglnyt
NATS can't subsidise the NSL operations with NERL money. Whether or not it should have kept the En-Route trainees is one debate. Whether or not it should have kept any Airport trainees is far more complex and a different debate.

If NATS had emerged from the Covid crisis with a retained pool of trainees it would arguably have given them an unfair advantage over other suppliers such as ANS. Although of course those trainees, even if they fully completed the college, are a long way off providing any solution to the current issue. From ab-initio to the world's busiest single runway airport is quite a jump.
But are trainees defined as 'en route trainees' and 'airport' trainees', or is this just another excuse? At least when I was there this decision was being taken later...
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Old 18th Sep 2023, 11:15
  #43 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Neo380
'It's not NATS, it's NATS Solutions' Hahaha!
I really don't know what is different; I retired when it was NATS En Route Ltd (Area Radar) and NATS Services Ltd (Aerodromes) so apart from pay and conditions, what is so different about NATS Solutions? I only know that before NATS lost the contract (temporarily) the guys at Gatwick Tower were 'ace' at shifting the traffic.
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Old 18th Sep 2023, 14:21
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"If people keep failing the training, it’s not the people at fault"
True up to a point but if the initial selection process is flawed, there's a problem. If you put a donkey in the Derby, it's not the jockey's fault when it doesn't run ! It seems the problems got worse once aptitude testing & Outward Bound courses for Cadets became trendy & the pool of 'known quantity' ATCAs diminished. Also, I've never understood the logic of chopping Cadets who'd got through ADC/APC/APR then failed Area for example and then went out with their valid ratings to what used to be called "non-state" units. How much time & money did that waste ? :-(
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Old 18th Sep 2023, 15:30
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Originally Posted by chevvron
I really don't know what is different; I retired when it was NATS En Route Ltd (Area Radar) and NATS Services Ltd (Aerodromes) so apart from pay and conditions, what is so different about NATS Solutions? I only know that before NATS lost the contract (temporarily) the guys at Gatwick Tower were 'ace' at shifting the traffic.
It is entirely about terms and conditions. If you bid for a contract, in particular for one currently held by somebody else, you need to be able to offer terms and condition similar to those the other parties are offering. NATS Solutions is the vehicle to do that. Still NATS but not constrained by the collective bargaining agreements that other parts of NATS have. For example NSL staff could/can move elsewhere within NSL if their airport contract is lost and they choose not to transfer to the new provider. NATS Solutions staff may not have that option

As Nimmer says whether that helps attract staff when you need to is an issue and there is a risk that those in NATS Solutions will be disgruntled when they inevitably find out the terms and conditions that apply elsewhere.
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Old 18th Sep 2023, 15:46
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Originally Posted by Eric T Cartman
"If people keep failing the training, it’s not the people at fault". True up to a point but if the initial selection process is flawed, there's a problem. If you put a donkey in the Derby, it's not the jockey's fault when it doesn't run ! It seems the problems got worse once aptitude testing & Outward Bound courses for Cadets became trendy & the pool of 'known quantity' ATCAs diminished. Also, I've never understood the logic of chopping Cadets who'd got through ADC/APC/APR then failed Area for example and then went out with their valid ratings to what used to be called "non-state" units. How much time & money did that waste ? :-(
Didn't the practice of chopping those who failed area end in the early 90s? I certainly know of one group that were chopped for that reason and a short while later HR were cap in hand asking them to come back to fill gaps at Airports. And is it not the case that courses have been streamed as Airports/Area right from the start for a while now?

Lots of ANSPs, not just NATS, have been searching for the magic criteria that allows you to identify those candidates that will be successful at the recruitment stage. I'm not sure anybody has managed it yet. I suspect it's moved on from the original SHL and similar tests though. The problem is that most controllers will say just recruit people exactly like me. I've worked with controllers for more years than I care to remember and they are all different. The other problem is that the demands and the skills required, in Area at least, may have changed.
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Old 18th Sep 2023, 19:41
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Originally Posted by Neo380
Er, stop NATS firing all 127 of its trainees during Covid (some were two weeks away from qualifying)? It's not as if this isn't a recurring problem for NATS, that they should have got on top of by now, and having taken a £1.5bn loan the 'speadsheet' argument is mute - this was straight mismanagement, hence: '' (the 7-figure bonus won't have helped)!

That is insane, two weeks away from qualifying. No wonder they have staff shortages if that's how they treat them!!!
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Old 19th Sep 2023, 14:23
  #48 (permalink)  

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I was on No.54 course in 1983. 16 began & 16 completed the area rating courses. One failed to validate at LATCC & eventually went to an airfield. A much older (32) ex ATSA reverted back. The youngest was aged 18 who without any previous aviation experience scored 90% in Aerodrome oral exam.
It was commended by the examination board chairman one Des Crouch. Probable a spotter in his youth (?)

The recruitment board chairman Mike McAvoy (?) was I believe a keen spotter & those who had shown an interest in aviation stood a much better chance than those with little or no interest. The motivation to be an ATCO is always something that interests me.
Clearly a certain amount of grey matter is part of the equation.
Get that bit right & the failure rate would be far less. When MM was eventually replaced, the fail rate apparently increased.

Fancy aptitude testing conclusively proves one thing ~ you are good are aptitude testing.
Ask the right Qs in the first place must be the answer.
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Old 19th Sep 2023, 15:36
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The motivation to be an ATCO is always something that interests me.
Times have certainly changed - in my interview as part of the latest recruitment round I wasn't once asked "why do you want the job?

Personally I think these "competency-based" questions don't really prove anything apart from your ability to tell a good story, but maybe that is just me being bitter......
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Old 19th Sep 2023, 15:46
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Originally Posted by parkfell
The recruitment board chairman Mike McAvoy (?) was I believe a keen spotter & those who had shown an interest in aviation stood a much better chance than those with little or no interest. The motivation to be an ATCO is always something that interests me.
Clearly a certain amount of grey matter is part of the equation.
Get that bit right & the failure rate would be far less. When MM was eventually replaced, the fail rate apparently increased.

Fancy aptitude testing conclusively proves one thing ~ you are good are aptitude testing.
Ask the right Qs in the first place must be the answer.
Mike McEvoy to be correct. He and the great Len Vass (who was a controller at Farnborough in the '50s) were both on my watch at LATCC (lucky for me; I was still an ATCA 2 at that time) and both provided great inspiration giving myself and other prospective Cadets a 'pep' talk when we were selected for ATCO Cadet interviews.
I frequently met both of them later in life; when I was asked to take command of an ATC Squadron which I ran in my spare time, Mike, whose son was already one of my senior cadets, volunteered his services as an instructor and Len became SATCO Boscombe Down so we met frequently.
Although I put my name forward as a 'recruiter', my own SATCO at Farnborough always 'blocked' me saying he couldn't release me due workload or something similar thus regerettably I was unable to participate in the recruitment process.

Last edited by chevvron; 19th Sep 2023 at 15:58.
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Old 19th Sep 2023, 16:48
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Originally Posted by ManUtd1999
Times have certainly changed - in my interview as part of the latest recruitment round I wasn't once asked "why do you want the job?

Personally I think these "competency-based" questions don't really prove anything apart from your ability to tell a good story, but maybe that is just me being bitter......
Were you given some things to learn? And perhaps asked how difficult you found that?
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Old 19th Sep 2023, 19:46
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There was a question in the House of Lords this afternoon. Lord's questions are usually less political than those in the Commons and therefore more useful but do sometimes suffer from their Lordships not having the same research support to help them understand the domain.

The Government's response was from somebody that had read the brief which is unusual from this Government. From the Government's reply it would appear that NATS are still considered the solution rather than the problem but they might only enjoy that status for the next month or so. It would also seem that the shortage of staff on that shift was not just due to sickness, I'll leave others to listen to the response and draw their own conclusion as to the other factor.

Unfortunately follow up questions didn't help draw anything out because they were confusing the En-Route licensed operation with the commercial side of NATS.
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Old 20th Sep 2023, 09:08
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Originally Posted by eglnyt
I'll leave others to listen to the response and draw their own conclusion as to the other factor.
.
For us non Brits who are not following your parliament debates , can you tell us what this other factor is ?
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Old 20th Sep 2023, 09:57
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Originally Posted by ATC Watcher
For us non Brits who are not following your parliament debates , can you tell us what this other factor is ?
The minister spoke of 2 unrelated operational incidents which caused withdrawal pending review.
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Old 20th Sep 2023, 10:24
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Originally Posted by chevvron
…Although I put my name forward as a 'recruiter', my own SATCO at Farnborough always 'blocked' me saying he couldn't release me due workload or something similar thus regrettably. I was unable to participate in the recruitment process.
I believe that ATCOs should play a significant part in the recruiting of cadets.
The process must start with the ATCOs effectively validating the proposed aptitude tests, presumably designed by psychologists(?) who think they know was makes an ATCO tick.

The most successful selection for pilot training is a ‘grading course’.
BAeFC ex A2 QFIs [George, Iain, & ‘Tag’] conducted them (14 hours flying in a PA28) for Cathay students (9007 course et seq) which significantly improved the success rate. Yes, expensive but long term worth its weight in gold.

ATCO selection needs a similar process of practical assessments to demonstrate basic skills & a learning curve.
What is paramount in my view is an actual interest in some aspect of aviation.
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Old 20th Sep 2023, 12:29
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Whilst Chevron may not have been released other controllers were released and took part. The use of controllers may have changed more recently, there are others on here who were previously involved that may be able to clarify that.

Involving Controllers in the recruitment of already qualified controllers is a no-brainer. For ab-initio it may not be so obvious. Unless controllers somehow have a hidden sense that detects the qualities that will lead to successful validation why would they be any more successful at finding the right people than anybody else? The danger is that in the absence of that hidden sense they might instead select people that remind them of themselves at that age. If your controllers are mainly male and from a certain ethnicity that may not be a good thing and could lead to issues for the hiring organisation.

We know who took the tests, we know what they scored, we know who successfully validated and who struggled. We can also assume that those who validated passed the tests at some point. Unfortunately we are missing any information on whether those who weren't selected because of their test results would have validated. Validating the tests on existing controllers wouldn't give us any more than we already know. That would need an organisation brave enough to take a selection of those that failed and put them through the course to see what happens.


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Old 20th Sep 2023, 14:46
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Originally Posted by eglnyt
…..We know who took the tests, we know what they scored, we know who successfully validated and who struggled. We can also assume that those who validated passed the tests at some point. Unfortunately we are missing any information on whether those who weren't selected because of their test results would have validated. Validating the tests on existing controllers wouldn't give us any more than we already know. That would need an organisation brave enough to take a selection of those that failed and put them through the course to see what happens.
The final sentence reminds me what the RAF did I believe in the late 1960s/early 1970s? If let us say a grade C or higher was normally required to be selected for pilot training, a number of grade D candidates were also selected unbeknown to the training dept.
Nature took its course & a far greater number failed the initial JP course. This was as much about testing the integrity of the training world to ensure that the standards were being maintained before the split into fast jet/rotary/multi engine.

You could hardly imagine any commercial ANSP contemplating such a course of action…?
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Old 20th Sep 2023, 15:44
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Originally Posted by parkfell

ATCO selection needs a similar process of practical assessments to demonstrate basic skills & a learning curve.
What is paramount in my view is an actual interest in some aspect of aviation.
Like the graduate I heard of who turned up for an ATCO interview thinking he'd be standing out on the apron waving a pair of bats about?
Yes it actually happened.
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Old 20th Sep 2023, 16:28
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Originally Posted by eglnyt
Whilst Chevron may not have been released other controllers were released and took part. The use of controllers may have changed more recently, there are others on here who were previously involved that may be able to clarify that.

Involving Controllers in the recruitment of already qualified controllers is a no-brainer. For ab-initio it may not be so obvious. Unless controllers somehow have a hidden sense that detects the qualities that will lead to successful validation why would they be any more successful at finding the right people than anybody else? The danger is that in the absence of that hidden sense they might instead select people that remind them of themselves at that age. If your controllers are mainly male and from a certain ethnicity that may not be a good thing and could lead to issues for the hiring organisation.

We know who took the tests, we know what they scored, we know who successfully validated and who struggled. We can also assume that those who validated passed the tests at some point. Unfortunately we are missing any information on whether those who weren't selected because of their test results would have validated. Validating the tests on existing controllers wouldn't give us any more than we already know. That would need an organisation brave enough to take a selection of those that failed and put them through the course to see what happens.
Agree, might have written that myself. I'd add, whilst the anecdotes from years gone by are mildly interesting, they don't relate to the situation as it is now. ATCOs have been actively involved in recruitment for at least the last 20 years that I know of, & the effect on the success or otherwise made little difference, in my experience. There's much more at play when it comes whether ultimately someone validates or not.
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Old 21st Sep 2023, 09:16
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There's much more at play when it comes whether ultimately someone validates or not.
Indeed , and since this thread seems to have been hijacked into UK recruitment methods , let me add this anecdote from outside the UK : In the 70s, Eurocontrol Luxemburg institute saw passing dozen of ATC ab initio courses one after the other with some 10 nationalities at the time . The selection was done by a simple 1 hour interview performed by aging British nationals , the result was predictable, lots British or Irish selected and 100% white males ,( You select a clone of yourself, a well known bias ) failure rate was around 20% but traffic was very low with basic tools
In the 80s and 90s selection became more rigorous, but still no women ( or just one or two to show we were being modern ) then we went for scientific recruitments via an outside firm , and FEATS. was introduced which many other Countries did follow . result : 60-70% failure rate. .the record being a complete course in Schiphol where nobody succeeded on OJT :a 100% failure rate.
In the meantime the job changed a lot , far more traffic , modern digital tools, simulators, better coaches, , more women interested , but also a new generation of people who many consider this job as a nice way to finance their hobbies and that do not intend not work on the frequency for 35 years as most of us did.
Add a management that is focusing almost exclusively on saving money instead of being interested in providing a service , and you start to see young controllers moving out of the Ops rooms for other careers , and even trainees resigning before full validation.
​​​​​​​
Having recently discussed this with a business head hunter his assessment was : " ATC is not a very attractive profession for Generation Z and we are all fishing in the same pond, with a smaller number of fish in it " .
IT seems to ne more interesting to them , so AI and more automation might save us in the future
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