Trainee Air Traffic Controllers


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A different puzzle everyday

Every day, our Air Traffic Controllers (ATCOs) use their intensive training and brilliant problem-solving skills to keep everything running smoothly in the ‘motorways in the sky’ – whatever unforeseen events unfold. We’re NATS, and every year, we handle the flights carrying over 250 million passengers in UK airspace. 

What does an ATCO do? 
Working in a team of specialists, our ATCOs keep up to 25 aircraft safe and moving – not only as they take off and land, but throughout their journey in UK airspace. Constantly in communication with their pilots, and using the very latest technology they track the skies and monitor other relevant data on the screens in front of them to keep the planes a safe distance apart, reacting swiftly to rapidly changing events, from loss of cabin pressure to freezing fog. 

What does our traineeship involve? 
Our intensive traineeship takes around three years. The first nine months will see you training on simulators and studying relevant subjects from meteorology to law. You’ll then join us gaining live experience in an Ops room. Once validated as an ATCO, you’ll be earning upwards of £50,000. What’s more, as well as having the opportunity to work at any of the NATS 13 UK airports and two central Ops rooms, you could develop your career – and the science of controlling air traffic – across 30 other countries worldwide. 

What will I need? 
A passion for the job, resilience, a calm nature, good powers of concentration, strong spatial awareness, and of course, good problem solving skills. You’ll also need to pass a medical. In terms of qualifications, you’ll need at least 5 GCSEs (although many people who join us have A levels and degrees, too). 


For more information, please click the ‘Apply’ button.

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