Recruitment drive offers careers in air traffic control

The operations room at National Air Traffic Services (NATS) Swanwick in Hampshire
The operations room at National Air Traffic Services (NATS) Swanwick in Hampshire
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An air traffic control firm has launched a major recruitment drive.

Nats, based in Whiteley and Swanwick, say not enough young people are getting into the sector.

Research released by Nats – the main air navigation provider in the UK – suggests that young people are not being informed about future careers in aviation.

The firm has now launched an initiative to recruit hundreds of new air traffic controllers.

Nats has around 1,670 controllers but is looking to recruit hundreds over the coming years to help it manage future traffic growth and to replace retiring air traffic controllers.

To coincide with the launch of the campaign, Nats has released research that reveals that only six per cent of 16-25s have ever received advice on careers in aviation.

Jobs in retail, professional services and health were at least four times more likely to have been discussed in formal careers interviews with young people.

Its Whiteley campus also includes a training centre for new air traffic controllers.

Katie Foster, head of people services at Nats, said: ‘This is about managing the future increase in air traffic.

‘It is a fantastic career doing something that’s really important.

‘Something that a lot of people don’t realise is that air traffic control is an important part of infrastructure, because it is an invisible service.

‘As long as you are over 18 and have five GCSEs, you can become an air traffic controller.’

Nats is investing almost £1 billion in new state-of-the-art technologies to help it manage the increase in traffic.

For more information about the scheme, and to apply, go to