Air Traffic Controller in the U.K.

become an air traffic controller in the UKThe United Kingdom (UK) is one with the Single European Sky initiative. One way of ensuring more harmonized air traffic across the European airspace is securing the constant supply of highly qualified air traffic controllers (ATCs). The National Air Traffic Services (NATS) is the leading authority in training future ATCs.

NATS encourage applicants to apply online provided that you are eligible to do so. There are three main eligibility air traffic controller requirements that must be met. Legally, you must possess a working visa that allows you to train and work here. Academically, you must be more than 18 years of age and have no less than 5 GCSEs or the equivalent. Medically, you should have high levels of mental and physical fitness. You must present a class 3 medical certificate.

The application process

You must subject yourself into a rigorous application process if you want to become an air traffic controller in the UK. NATS encourage the applicants to understand what each process entails before hitting the application button.

1) Online registration

Upon clicking the button, there will be a prompt to register first. You simply have to fill out the application form and submit it. The online application takes an hour, so it would be best to register undisturbed. You will be notified by email so better check it. You will be invited to take the online test which will be in 2 stages. The first stage is filtering that involves verbal reasoning, numerical reasoning and error checking. The second stage involves diagrammatical and spatial reasoning.

2) Assessment center

If you passed both tests, you will move on to the assessment center in Hampshire. In here, you will undertake paper-based and computer-based assessments (FEAST and DART). There will be learning materials that will be given in advance to pass the assessments both of which aimed at gauging your skills in relation to becoming an air traffic controller. The second stage of the assessment involves an interview to gauge your competencies. Your responses to every question will be scored by a panel of interviewer that includes ATCs, human resource staff human factors group members.

3) Medical clearance

Successful applicants will be provided with a conditional employment offer depending on one of the air traffic controller requirements noted above (medical certificate). The medical examination must be conducted at the Swanwick Centre where you will complete important medical information. You will not be immediately put into an air traffic control school. Instead, your name will be included in the applicants’ pool. Air traffic controller training course will be allocated.

In the UK, the cost of air traffic controller training is very high that’s why NATS is very meticulous in choosing who among the applicants must be trained despite passing all the requirements. You must not be discouraged if you are not chosen in your first application because you may always apply after 2 years and you can re-apply for three times. Anyhow, you have to make sure that you are prepared every step of the way so that you may improve your chances of being chosen.

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