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Air Traffic Controller CV Writing Tip's

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Air Traffic Controller CV Writing Service

As an air traffic controller you would help airline pilots take off and land safely. You would also make sure that aircraft travelling through the UK are kept a safe distance apart. If you are interested in aircraft safety and want a challenging role, this job could be just what you are looking for.

To become an air traffic controller, you will need to be able to work calmly under pressure. You will need good problem-solving and decision-making skills. It’s vital that you have excellent communication skills to give clear instructions.

You will need an air traffic control licence to become a fully qualified controller. To get this you must first become a trainee. For this you must be over 18. You need to be a UK citizen. You must also have a good standard of education.

The work

You would work in one of the following roles:

  • area controller – based in a regional control centre, tracking and guiding aircraft safely through your sector
  • approach controller – managing aircraft as they near the airport, and arranging them into the correct landing order
  • aerodrome controller – working from a control tower, relaying landing instructions to pilots as they descend.

The aerodrome role often includes ground control duties, for instance directing aircraft on the runway after landing and before take off, and to and from parking stands and holding areas.

An extremely important part of your work would be to respond to emergency distress calls. This could be, for example, informing, instructing and guiding a light aircraft to safety that has lost its way in bad weather.


Hours

You would normally work 40 hours a week on a shift basis, including days, nights, weekends and public holidays. During a shift, you might guide aircraft for up to two hours, followed by a half-hour break.

You would be based in a flight control centre or airport control tower, spending most of your time monitoring aircraft and talking to pilots.


Income

A sponsored trainee controller at college earns around £10,000 a year. During on-the-job training, controllers can earn between £15,000 and £19,000.

Qualified air traffic controllers can earn up to £50,000 a year. Supervisors and senior controllers can earn up to £91,000 a year.

Salaries depend on where you work and shift allowances.

Figures are intended as a guideline only.


Entry requirements

You will need an air traffic control licence to become a fully qualified controller, which you can gain by completing an approved training course. Course providers include National Air Traffic Services (NATS) and Resource Training.

To do a trainee controller’s course, you must:

  • be at least 18 years old when you apply (a full licence is only issued at age 20 or over)
  • be eligible to work in the UK
  • have a good standard of education, usually a minimum of five GCSEs (grades A-C), including English and maths.

The application process involves a variety of assessments designed to test your skills and aptitude. You would be expected to pass a medical examination and get security clearance before being offered a job.

You may be considered for training if you have relevant aviation experience as a military air traffic controller, civil or military assistant, or military or commercial pilot.

Training can last several months and will involve spending time away from home.

You can fund your own training or apply to an air traffic control provider for sponsorship. Training could cost several thousand pounds.

The course combines classroom instruction with practical exercises. Computer simulators recreate real air traffic situations for practical training. Assessors will check your progress and you must pass every part of the course.

Another option is to apply to airport operators for a position as an air traffic control assistant. Once working, your employer may offer you training to become a fully qualified air traffic controller.


Training and development

After completing your college-based training, you will need to apply for a trainee position with an air traffic control unit. As a trainee, you would work towards qualifying as an operational air traffic control officer. An experienced instructor would supervise your work-based training.

Once qualified, you would have to pass a thorough medical examination every two years until the age of 40, then every year after that.

You may have the chance of promotion to higher grades by taking specialist in-house courses or secondments. This could lead to training, planning and management positions.


Skills and knowledge

To become an air traffic controller, you will need to have:

  • the ability to work calmly under pressure
  • problem-solving and decision-making skills
  • excellent communication skills to give clear instructions
  • confidence when working with technology
  • the ability to interpret information from different sources
  • the ability to check information quickly and accurately
  • good maths skills
  • good spatial awareness
  • a responsible attitude
  • good teamwork skills
  • a willingness to work flexibly
  • a keen interest in aircraft and aviation.

Opportunities

If you train as a controller with National Air Traffic Services (NATS), opportunities would be with the larger UK airports and area control centres.

If you train with other course providers, you could find jobs at many of the smaller UK airfields that employ controllers directly.

You can find contact details of UK airports on the Airport Guides website.

A UK air traffic control licence will allow you to work throughout the EU.

With experience, you could move into training and assessing new controllers, or become an operational watch supervisor or unit manager.

Related industry information

Industry summary

The aviation industry is represented by People 1st, the Sector Skills Council for hospitality, passenger transport, travel and tourism. The passenger transport sector incorporates rail, aviation, bus and coach, taxi and private hire, light rail and metro, driver training, and UK waterways. The sector accounts for 735,000 jobs, most of which are within the bus and coach, taxi and private hire, rail, and aviation industries. The passenger transport sector comprises a myriad of roles, from pilots and transport planners, to essential support roles in finance, marketing and human resources.

The aviation industry is a large employer in the UK and includes 30 commercial airports, plus numerous private airports and airfields. It includes people employed in:

  • highly skilled and technical roles, such as pilots and air traffic control
  • customer service roles, including passenger check in and support, terminal and airport management and cabin crew
  • ground services undertaking tasks, such as baggage and cargo handling, aircraft preparation and flight planning

The UK aviation industry is dominated by a small number of companies. The introduction of the low-cost airlines changed the structure of the industry, but growth in this area is expected to slow.

Key facts:

  • There are 138,000 people working in the aviation industry
  • Only 4% of companies employ more than 100 people, but this 4% employ 86% of the UK aviation workforce
  • The average age of an employee is 40
  • There are female dominated roles in the industry, the main being cabin crew. Male dominated roles include baggage handling and aircraft ramp services
  • The average working hours for an aviation industry employee are 38 per week.
  • Just 10% of the workforce is employed part-time
  • In 2009, more than 218 million passengers were handled by UK airports

Jobs in the industry fall into the following areas:

  • Ground handling services – such as baggage/ramp handling, aircraft preparation, load planning officer, ramp supervisor, aircraft dispatcher
  • Airport operations – such as airport duty staff, support officer to team supervisor, airport terminal manager, customer support staff, air traffic control
  • Airline operations – such as passenger services staff, ground handling, cabin crew, first officer pilot, flight captain, cabin crew officer, aviation operation passenger services

National and regional data

[N.B. Regional data presented are for the aviation industry and the passenger transport sector as a whole. Data derived from the Labour Force Survey, 2007.]

East Midlands – There are 4,900 people working in the aviation industry in the region. In the passenger transport sector as whole, 14% of the workforce in the region is female. 14% of the workforce is from an ethnic minority background. 6% of the workforce is under 25 years, 62% is 26-49 years and 32% is 50 years or older. Skill gaps include: foreign languages; vehicle maintenance and engineering; Welsh language; job related IT; and safety/accident management.

East of England – There are 13,600 people working in the aviation industry in the region. In the passenger transport sector as whole, 25% of the workforce in the region is female. 9% of the workforce is from an ethnic minority background. 7% of the workforce is under 25 years, 52% is 26-49 years and 41% is 50 years or older. Skill gaps include: foreign languages; job related IT; Welsh language; and vehicle maintenance and engineering.

London – There are 25,300 people working in the aviation industry in the region. In the passenger transport sector as whole, 20% of the workforce in the region is female. 42% of the workforce is from an ethnic minority background. 4% of the workforce is under 25 years, 70% is 26-49 years and 26% is 50 years or older. Skill gaps include: job related IT; foreign languages; safety/accident management; booking operations; and logistics and scheduling of services.

North East – There are 2,100 people working in the aviation industry in the region. In the passenger transport sector as whole, 17% of the workforce in the region is female. 3% of the workforce is from an ethnic minority background. 8% of the workforce is under 25 years, 51% is 26-49 years and 41% is 50 years or older. Skill gaps include: job related IT; foreign languages; vehicle maintenance and engineering; Welsh language; and safety/accident management.

North West – There are 13,600 people working in the aviation industry in the region. In the passenger transport sector as whole, 16% of the workforce in the region is female. 14% of the workforce is from an ethnic minority background. 6% of the workforce is under 25 years, 61% is 26-49 years and 33% is 50 years or older. Skill gaps include: foreign languages; disability awareness; Welsh language; and vehicle maintenance and engineering.

South East – There are 49,100 people working in the aviation industry in the region. In the passenger transport sector as whole, 25% of the workforce in the region is female. 11% of the workforce is from an ethnic minority background. 6% of the workforce is under 25 years, 48% is 26-49 years and 36% is 50 years or older. Skill gaps include: foreign languages; vehicle maintenance and engineering; and job related IT.

South West – There are 6,100 people working in the aviation industry in the region. In the passenger transport sector as whole, 19% of the workforce in the region is female. 4% of the workforce is from an ethnic minority background. 4% of the workforce is under 25 years, 56% is 26-49 years and 40% is 50 years or older. Skill gaps include: foreign languages; job related IT; and vehicle maintenance and engineering.

West Midlands – There are 6,500 people working in the aviation industry in the region. In the passenger transport sector as whole, 19% of the workforce in the region is female. 27% of the workforce is from an ethnic minority background. 7% of the workforce is under 25 years, 65% is 26-49 years and 28% is 50 years or older. Skill gaps include: job related IT; safety/accident management; foreign languages; maths/working with numbers; and disability awareness.

Yorkshire and the Humber – There are 2,200 people working in the aviation industry in the region. In the passenger transport sector as whole, 13% of the workforce in the region is female. 18% of the workforce is from an ethnic minority background. 8% of the workforce is under 25 years, 62% is 26-49 years and 30% is 50 years or older. Skill gaps include: foreign languages; vehicle maintenance and engineering; job related IT; and Welsh language.

Northern Ireland – There are 2,200 people working in the aviation industry in the region. In the passenger transport sector as whole, 21% of the workforce in the region is female. Data are unavailable on the ethnicity of the workforce. 9% of the workforce is under 25 years, 74% is 26-49 years and 17% is 50 years or older. Skill gaps include: foreign languages; safety/accident management; job related IT; and disability awareness.

Scotland – There are 10,400 people working in the aviation industry in the region. In the passenger transport sector as whole, 16% of the workforce in the region is female. 2% of the workforce is from an ethnic minority background. 8% of the workforce is under 25 years, 56% is 26-49 years and 36% is 50 years or older. Skill gaps include: foreign languages; vehicle maintenance and engineering; and disability awareness.

Wales – There are 1,800 people working in the aviation industry in the region. In the passenger transport sector as whole, 18% of the workforce in the region is female. 4% of the workforce is from an ethnic minority background. 8% of the workforce is under 25 years, 54% is 26-49 years and 38% is 50 years or older. Skill gaps include: Welsh language; foreign languages; disability awareness; safety/accident management; job related IT; and vehicle maintenance and engineering.

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