NATS appoints NOCN to develop air traffic qualifications

NATS, the UK’s leading provider of air traffic control services, has partnered with NOCN to accredit the air traffic training courses NATS delivers.

NOCN creates flexible qualifications for organisations that offer education and training to their students or members or staff. NOCN’s qualifications help people gain the skills and confidence that lead to an apprenticeship or a job.

Graham Hasting-Evans, managing director at NOCN said: “The selection process to become an Air Traffic Controller (ATCO) is rigorous. Safety and efficiency must be the top priority when working in the busiest airspace in the world. And when faced with moving over 6,000 flights every day, it’s essential to employ the right people and give them specialist training.”

“We’re delighted to be working with NATS on these highly specialised and key industry sector qualifications. This is the first suite of qualifications that we’ll be developing and our next phase will be around the Air Traffic Safety Electronics Personnel (ATSEP) scheme which is the competency based training scheme being introduced globally for Air Traffic Control Engineers.

“These new qualifications are a welcome addition to our growing portfolio of specialist and higher apprenticeship qualifications.”

The trainee ATCOs will study the qualifications at the NATS training centre in Fareham, Hampshire. The training includes both theoretical and practical simulated experience relevant to the course.

The training is for both European and international students.  All will have to pass the basic training, which covers an introduction to Aviation Law, Air traffic Management, meteorology, navigation, aircraft and equipment and systems, before progressing onto rating training.

Rating training focuses on three main areas; Aerodrome, Approach and Area which deal with the various job disciplines in which controllers may operate air traffic services.

The NOCN qualifications will allow the trainees to reach the student licence stage. They will then go on to do work experience and other training before gaining their full licence. Of the 3,000 people who typically apply to be controllers, only around 20 go on to complete the training process, which can take three to four years.