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-   -   NATS Heathrow jobs (https://www.pprune.org/atc-issues/594263-nats-heathrow-jobs.html)

chevvron 10th May 2017 14:10

Possibly. Maybe those with degrees need special handling of some sort which was not covered in the OJTI course which I attended.

whitelighter 10th May 2017 14:21

I have a degree.
College start to validation at a London airport in 1 year and 5 weeks.
Perhaps I was lucky and had good OJTIs without a chip on their shoulder.

Now I am an OJTI and I don't feel the need to sniff this kind of back ground out. For me, regardless all trainees get the same chance. If they have made it through a rating course then they deserve my best efforts and no prejudgement.

good egg 10th May 2017 14:46


Originally Posted by chevvron (Post 9766651)
Possibly. Maybe those with degrees need special handling of some sort which was not covered in the OJTI course which I attended.
At least one other NATS OJTI has agreed with my views on these pages many moons ago.

I dare say others have found the opposite to be true.

I'd certainly agree that OJTI training, and at times selection, is not what it should be. There's no end to learning, both as an ATCO and as an OJTI.
I think it's important not to prejudge people based on their background. You can judge them certainly, and I'm sure we all do (whether "qualified" to or not!), but these judgements should be based on observations rather than preconceptions.
Being able to understand the trainee's (or indeed any colleague's) viewpoint and being able to communicate effectively in a "challenge and be challenged" environment is where we ought to be by now.
The environment and culture of units/watches still varies tremendously but, hopefully, all are moving in the same (correct) direction...

ZOOKER 10th May 2017 15:23

I did 18 months as an 'non-state' ATCA, back in the mid 1970s when NATS had stopped external recruitment. I left in 1976 to do a science degree, and joined NATS as an ATCO cadet when courses resumed, 3 years later.

I remember on our graduation course, having an interesting presentation, when we were told our scores in the selection procedure, and discussed them with the 'head of ATC SL2', (or whatever it was called), who oversaw our selection process.

During this, I remember J.E.P. saying something like...'remind me, Zooker, where you a direct entrant, an ex-ATCA, or a graduate?'

"I was all 3", I replied.

"Oh, yes I remember that interview", he said.

I think graduates may be harder to train as they are more likely to question things, and look for details which are irrelevant and often not there. Quite a few ATCOs have attained OU degrees after validation, and one at our unit even attained a Law Degree.........A tremendous achievement in itself.

chevvron 10th May 2017 15:38


Originally Posted by ZOOKER (Post 9766722)
I think graduates may be harder to train at they are more likely to question things, and look for details which are irrelevant and often not there.

Thinking back, that's probably what it is.

DaveReidUK 10th May 2017 15:47

An eye for detail certainly isn't a characteristic you would want to encourage in a controller. :O

ZOOKER 10th May 2017 17:04

It's an interesting one. Perhaps I didn't word it too well Dave.

I heard the same comments, made here by chevvron, way back, but I can't remember where, or by whom, unfortunately.

I remember early on during our course, sitting in the airport canteen (which overlooked the apron), trying to explain to a fellow-student, who was a psychology-graduate, the difference between a Trident and a B727, both of which were parked outside. It was an interesting conversation.

My own OJTI experience didn't involve any specific problems with graduates. The hardest ones were 2 young students who simply wouldn't get stuck into the book-work. One was more concerned with TV, football and computing, the other with his new car and his girlfriend. A great shame, because both could have made it.

We also has 2 u/ts who sailed through CATC, top-marks on everything, but couldn't do it with real aeroplanes. Both ended up as first-rate ATSAs though.

Gonzo 10th May 2017 17:14

I really don't think any statement on graduates v non-graduates from any one person, perhaps even any one unit, can be statistically significant.

Firstly there is the fact that the nominal 'degree' doesn't exist. A law graduate is going to have learned vastly different skills during study than a drama graduate, than a archaeology student, than a physics student, than a rural resource management student.

If I picked the multi-year time periods carefully, I could, with conviction, say that no ab initio trainee from the college is good enough to validate at LHR Tower. I could point to 'evidence' that would back that up.

If I picked a different, but adjacent, multi-year time period, I could, with conviction, say that valid en-route and TMA controllers are not good enough to validate at LHR Tower. I could point to 'evidence' to back that up.

Does NATS (or specific units) base selection processes on that sort of assertion? No, of course not, because we look for a set of skills and behaviours, and we are usually broad minded enough to understand that those skills and behaviours occur in many people, regardless of levels of education, or wealth, or ethnicity, or gender.

The only way of assessing success is to judge against a standard. We do not, when faced with a similar candidate to one who has just been judged as not suitable, dismiss that candidate just because s/he is of a similar background/education/etc etc.

Satellite Man 10th May 2017 18:43


Originally Posted by whitelighter (Post 9764945)
Until your third anniversary with the company post validation salary is more like 34-38k.
And that is gros, before tax and pension deductions. As is the 56k.

That's a shame of a salary for an ATCO at Heathrow. Who volunteers to work at Heathrow for that kind of money?

In air traffic control salaries and working conditions are going downhill in many places, mainly because many colleagues are no longer willing to fight for their rights, for recognition for this profession, workload and productivity. Companies managing airports and airlines are reaping all the profits and now, with low fuel costs, air traffic is going up faster and consistently. I am surprised there are not more air traffic control strikes in Europe. At least the French still resort to industrial action.

whitelighter 10th May 2017 21:30

That is for a newly qualified ATCO, and at Heathrow it would be the top of that range.

NudgingSteel 11th May 2017 08:32


Originally Posted by Gonzo (Post 9766836)
I really don't think any statement on graduates v non-graduates from any one person, perhaps even any one unit, can be statistically significant.

Firstly there is the fact that the nominal 'degree' doesn't exist. A law graduate is going to have learned vastly different skills during study than a drama graduate, than a archaeology student, than a physics student, than a rural resource management student.

If I picked the multi-year time periods carefully, I could, with conviction, say that no ab initio trainee from the college is good enough to validate at LHR Tower. I could point to 'evidence' that would back that up.

If I picked a different, but adjacent, multi-year time period, I could, with conviction, say that valid en-route and TMA controllers are not good enough to validate at LHR Tower. I could point to 'evidence' to back that up.

Does NATS (or specific units) base selection processes on that sort of assertion? No, of course not, because we look for a set of skills and behaviours, and we are usually broad minded enough to understand that those skills and behaviours occur in many people, regardless of levels of education, or wealth, or ethnicity, or gender.

The only way of assessing success is to judge against a standard. We do not, when faced with a similar candidate to one who has just been judged as not suitable, dismiss that candidate just because s/he is of a similar background/education/etc etc.

Excellently put sir.

Brian 48nav 11th May 2017 10:06

Blimey Gonzo, I'm starting to worry about you - you sound far too intelligent and reasonable to be an ATCO!

Reminds me of back in the 90s a newly validated Tower Controller at LL had to suffer a watch change to my watch, so I pulled his leg by saying, 'You would never have validated on our watch!', 'Why not?'said our hero. 'Because all us old farts can't stand seeing men wearing earrings!'.

He is still a mate so tolerated my warped sense of humour - still wears a bloody earring though!


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