15 April, 2023

Air Traffic Controllers at NATS keep around 2.5 million flights and 250 million people flying above our heads in the UK safe. and now YOU can be one of them......

24 hours a day, 7 days a week and 365 days a year, the special Air Traffic Controllers at NATS keep around 2.5 million flights and 250 million people flying above our heads in the UK safe. 

The UK, like many countries, has ‘controlled’ and ‘uncontrolled’ airspace. In controlled airspace, pilots take instructions from Air Traffic Controllers on where, when and how to position their aircraft. Most commercial aircraft operate in controlled airspace.

For the first time since before the pandemic, people can apply to join NATS’ student controller scheme, with basic training based at one of their two training facilities in Hampshire and Gloucester. Once passing an online assessment, successful candidates go through around nine months of vigorous initial training, before being posted to an airport tower or control centre to complete their learning and assessments.

Successful controllers come from all walks of life, but NATS is seeking to redress the gender imbalance that exists across the aviation industry, with the ambition that half of its new intake to be made up of women.

Helen Fuge, Head of Talent and HR Services at NATS, said: “Air traffic control should be a career anyone can aspire to, but along with the wider aviation industry, it has long been heavily male-dominated. We have many wonderful women controllers, but they make up only around only 30% of the total and we want to change that.

“We know businesses that are inclusive and diverse are more successful, they make better decisions and are more effective, but fundamentally we believe improving diversity across our organisation to better reflect the world around us is simply the right thing to do.”

NATS currently has around 1,600 controllers whose job is to safely manage the flow of aircraft through the UK’s busy and complex airspace, as well as at 15 of the country’s busiest airports - which include: Aberdeen, Belfast City, Belfast International, Bristol, Cardiff, Farnborough, Gatwick, Glasgow, Heathrow, London City (remotely via a Digital Tower arrangement), Luton, Manchester, Southampton, St Athan and Stansted.  NATS also look after Gibraltar International Airport. 

It's been around two years since London City Airport successfully transitioned to a digital tower and began controlling flights from a brand-new remote-control centre, based in Swanwick. You can read about the experience here

For more information and to apply,   visit NATS recruitment site.