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Overview of the role

Directing aircraft on the ground and through controlled airspace

Air traffic controller

Reference Number: ST0595

Details of standard

Level:

This apprenticeship is set at level 5

Duration:

Typically 15-21 Months

Review Date: 

This standard will be reviewed in 3 years

Entry requirements:

Individual employers will determine their own entry requirements; in addition, and in accordance with European and UK law, all prospective Air Traffic Controllers must obtain an EU Class 3 medical certificate.

Qualification:           

Apprentices without Level 2 English and Maths will need to achieve this level prior to taking their end point assessment.  For those with an education, health and care plan or a legacy statement the apprenticeships English and maths minimum requirement is Entry Level 3 and British Sign Language qualification are an alternative to English qualifications for whom this is their primary language.

Civil Controllers who have successfully completed their off the job training will be eligible to apply for a Student Licence once they are 18 or over.  A student licence is a pre-requisite for Civil on-the-job training.

Military controllers also receive a combination of off/on-the-job training but they are not required to obtain a Student Licence.

This Apprenticeship provides for full occupational competency in a supervised live traffic environment with light traffic complexity and workload. It covers the core requirements shared by all employers across the Civil and Military Air Traffic Controller sectors.  Employers may have additional training requirements, depending on the geographical air space they manage, the traffic complexity, and any additional rating endorsements or licencing requirements that sit outside of the Apprenticeship.

Occupational Profile

The UK manages one of the busiest and most complex pieces of airspace in the world. A range of specialist air traffic controller roles contribute to the safe and efficient movement of aircraft with civil and military operations working collaboratively to maintain a fully integrated service to all users, 24 hours a day, every day of the year

Air Traffic Controllers work in a number of aviation environments such as an air traffic control centres, commercial airports, military bases and aerodromes, or other airfields; some air traffic controllers find their training and experience useful in consultancy, aerospace manufacturing or in the global aerospace industry. The guiding principle of air traffic control is to deliver a safe, efficient and reliable service using their knowledge and skills.  Air traffic controllers in the UK would usually work for a commercial/ civil employer or the military.

Tasks will vary depending on the specialism of the air traffic controller but include:

  • preventing collisions between aircraft and between aircraft and obstacles
  • making sure that minimum safe distances are maintained between aircraft
  • keeping radio contact with aircraft
  • maintaining surveillance contact with aircraft using equipment such as RADAR
  • issuing instructions to aircraft
  • expediting and maintaining a safe and orderly flow of air traffic
  • providing information to aircraft about information pertinent to the flight
  • monitoring data systems
  • handling unexpected events, emergencies, and unscheduled traffic.

This apprenticeship adopts a core and options approach to allow flexibility for employers and enable transferability between roles and employers for apprentices. All apprentices must attain competence in each of the core knowledge, skills and behaviours. In addition, one specialist option (for additional knowledge and skills) must be taken out of the eight specialisms listed further below, which are Civil Area/ Terminal Controller, Civil Approach Controller, Civil Approach Procedural Controller, Civil Aerodrome Controller, Military Weapons Controller,  Military Area Radar Controller, Military Terminal Radar Controller, Military Terminal Aerodrome Controller. 

Typical job titles include: 

Civil Area/ Terminal Controller, Civil Approach Controller, Civil Approach Procedure Controller, Civil Aerodrome Controller, Military Weapons Controller, Military Area Radar Controller, Military Terminal Radar Controller, Military Terminal Aerodrome Controller. 

Core Skills, Knowledge and Behaviours

The subjects, topics and sub topics together with the training and performance objectives are laid down in a European regulation and UK Competent Authority publications.  All air traffic controllers must have all of the following generic skills, knowledge and behaviours:

 

Knowledge and Understanding (Know it)

All apprentices will demonstrate:

 

Skills (Show it)

Some skills will be specific to the role but will include:

Safety

Health & Safety obligations as an employee and as an air traffic controller including maintaining a safe environment, emergency response and personal safety

Understand how to escalate safety concerns

Comply with Health & Safety obligations as an employee and as an air traffic controller

Escalate safety concerns through the appropriate channels

Security

Understand potential security threats and their impact on the business and the operation and action to take in the event of a breach of security

Manage aviation security in own area of operations following organisational procedures to report and react to any breach

 

Planning

Understand the considerations and processes to enable effective planning, problem solving and decision making using knowledge, experience and evolving information.

Understand how to maintain spatial awareness within the designated area of control

Manage planning, problem solving and decision making using knowledge, experience and evolving information.  Manage the use and update of situational data displays

Maintain spatial awareness within the designated area of control



Compliance & Legislation

Understand how to manage and comply with local, national and international legislation, codes of practice and guidance within own area of responsibility

Manage compliance with legislation, aviation procedures and regulations within own area of responsibility

Communication

Understand how to manage communications with users, staff and external agencies, selecting appropriate methods and language.  Understand:

standard terminology, context and tools to communicate with aircraft, other ATC authorities, and colleagues

how to direct the movement of aircraft

how to pass information to aircraft (e.g. weather conditions)

how to maintain radio and radar contact with aircraft

Manage communication with users, staff and external agencies, selecting appropriate methods and language

Use:

correct terminology, context and tools and maintain a safe and effective operation

direct the movement of aircraft

pass effective and pertinent information to aircraft

maintain radio and radar contact with aircraft

Teamworking & Resource Management

Know and understand the procedures and protocols for safe takeover and handover control of the operational position at the start and end of an allocated period of air traffic control

Know and understand the correct team and individual responses to light levels of traffic volume and complexity

Understand how to manage difficult and challenging situations and people

Understand the interactions between different types of controllers and how interactions between controllers affect workload

Understand the need for cooperation with other parties concerning aspects of environmental protection

Safely takeover and handover control of the operational position at the start and end of an allocated period of air traffic control

 

Assess and respond effectively to light levels of traffic volume and complexity

Effectively manage difficult and challenging situations and people

 

Effectively manage working relationships and interactions between differing types of controllers situated at the same and differing sites (domestic and international)

Cooperate effectively with other parties to achieve appropriate environmental protections

Air Traffic Operations

Understand:

Aerodrome theory

Aircraft performance and behaviours

Equipment and systems

Aviation Law

Air Traffic Management

Local procedures, rules and systems

Navigation

Regulatory standards and obligations

Weather and impact on aircraft, the local operation, and the wider air traffic control network

Radio, navigation and communications aids

Separation minima between aircraft in specific situations

Emergency and unscheduled traffic procedures including airborne and ground based failures

Effectively Manage Air Traffic using understanding of appropriate theory, experience and current operating directives

Service Level Agreements

Understand the agreed levels of performance and standard operational procedures within own area of responsibility

Manage team and facilities to deliver results according to agreed levels of performance

Personal Effectiveness

Understand responsibilities and accountabilities for the role

Understand how to maintain resilience, effectiveness and operational safety when a plan is not followed

Understand the need to acknowledge and react positively to any errors identified

Understand the importance of recognising and responding appropriately to the signs and symptoms of fatigue Understand the impact of personal medical fitness and the impact on personal effectiveness

Undertake responsibilities and accountabilities

Maintain resilience, effectiveness and operational safety when a plan is not followed

Acknowledge and react positively to any errors identified

 

Recognise and respond appropriately to fatigue. Take responsibility for personal medical fitness to not endanger airspace users when personal effectiveness may be reduced

Behaviours (Live it)

·      Embrace and promote the values of the organisation

·      Treat team, customers and other stakeholders with courtesy and respect

·      Take ownership and responsibility of role and working area, including team members where responsible

·      Display loyalty, integrity and accountability to the organisation

·      Commit to continuous development of self and team, including improvements to systems and processes

·      Be vigilant and proactive in promoting a safe, secure and compliant working culture

       

Specialist Skills, Knowledge and Behaviours

In addition to the above, the specialist roles will demonstrate the following skills and knowledge:

Specialist

 

Knowledge and Understanding (Know it)

 

Skills (Show it)

Civil Area/ Terminal Controllers

are likely to be based in one of the larger air traffic control centres, or may be located at an airport tower. These roles handle domestic traffic and aircraft flying through UK airspace

Understand the specific rules, principles and techniques pertinent to civil Area/ Terminal control and how they apply to, and impact, the civil Area/ Terminal environment

Understand the role and responsibilities of the Area/ Terminal  Controller and their role in providing an integrated air traffic control service

 

Demonstrate sufficient knowledge and understanding through a variety of assessments and examinations

Demonstrate practical capability as an Area/ Terminal air traffic controller to the defined assessment standard and level

Civil Approach Controllers work at an airport, often in a Control Tower and arranging aircraft into an approach sequence with the use of radar/surveillance equipment.

 

Understand the specific rules, principles and techniques pertinent to civil Approach control and how they apply to, and impact, the civil Approach environment

Understand the role and responsibilities of the Approach Controller and their role in providing an integrated air traffic control service

Demonstrate sufficient knowledge and understanding through a variety of assessments and examinations

Demonstrate practical capability as an Approach controller to the defined assessment standard and level

Civil Approach Procedural Controllers work at an airport, often in a Control Tower, arranging aircraft into an approach sequence without the use of any radar/surveillance equipment.  Depending on the complexity of the airport and airspace this role maybe combined with aerodrome control function.

 

Understand the specific rules, principles and techniques pertinent to civil Approach Procedural control and how they apply to, and impact, the civil Approach Procedural environment

Understand the role and responsibilities of the Approach Procedural Controller and their role in providing an integrated air traffic control service

Demonstrate sufficient knowledge and understanding through a variety of assessments and examinations

Demonstrate practical capability as an Approach Procedural controller to the defined assessment standard and level

Civil Aerodrome Controllers manage aircraft movements and the control of vehicles around the airport and aircraft flying in the vicinity of the airport.  Depending on the complexity of the airport, this role may be combined with the approach controller function

Understand the specific rules, principles and techniques pertinent to civil Aerodrome control and how they apply to, and impact, the civil Aerodrome environment

Understand the role and responsibilities of the Civil Aerodrome Controller and their role in providing an integrated air traffic control service

 

Demonstrate sufficient knowledge and understanding through a variety of assessments and examinations

Demonstrate practical capability as an Aerodrome controller to the defined assessment standard and level

Military Weapons Controllers predominantly work in UK-based Control and Reporting Centres, but can operate world-wide; deploying with a mobile radar or in an airborne role. Controllers use radar to provide a real-time air picture to support to pilots and provide tactical control instructions to enable airborne security.      

Understand the specific rules, principles and techniques pertinent to military Weapons control and how they apply to, and impact, the military Weapons Control environment

Understand the role and responsibilities of the Military Weapons Controller and their role in providing an integrated air traffic control service

 

Demonstrate sufficient knowledge and understanding through a variety of assessments and examinations

Demonstrate practical capability as a Military Weapons Controller to the defined assessment standard and level

Military Area Radar work in a variety of environments including land based centres and on board HM Warships, providing a full suite of Air Traffic Services to Military and Civil Air Systems.  This enables military air systems to operate with tactical freedom in both Controlled and Uncontrolled Airspace whilst ensuring safe and effective integration with Civil airspace users throughout the UK FIR/UIR. 

Understand the specific rules, principles and techniques pertinent to military Area control and how they apply to, and impact, the military Area environment

Understand the role and responsibilities of the Military Area Radar Controller and their role in providing an integrated air traffic control service

 

Demonstrate sufficient knowledge and understanding through a variety of assessments and examinations

Demonstrate practical capability as a Military Area Radar Controller to the defined assessment standard and level

Military Terminal Radar Controllers work in Control Towers, often at the same location as the airfield they provide the radar service for. They provide safe control instructions for aircraft departing, approaching or flying through the vicinity of the airfield. 

Understand the specific rules, principles and techniques pertinent to military Terminal Radar control and how they apply to, and impact, the military Terminal Radar environment

Understand the role and responsibilities of the Military Terminal Radar Controller and their role in providing an integrated air traffic control service

 

Demonstrate sufficient knowledge and understanding through a variety of assessments and examinations

Demonstrate practical capability as a Military Terminal Radar Controller to the defined assessment standard and level

 Military Terminal Aerodrome Controllers predominantly work in a Control Tower managing the movement of aircraft and vehicles. Ensuring safe aircraft departure, arrival and flight in the vicinity of the airfield. Aerodrome Controllers can also deploy to temporary landing strips, using portable radio equipment to enable tactical aircraft operations.    

Understand the specific rules, principles and techniques pertinent to military Terminal Aerodrome control and how they apply to, and impact, the military Terminal Aerodrome environment

Understand the role and responsibilities of the Military Terminal Aerodrome Controller and their role in providing an integrated air traffic control service

 

Demonstrate sufficient knowledge and understanding through a variety of assessments and examinations

Demonstrate practical capability as a Military Terminal Aerodrome Controller to the defined assessment standard and level


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Status: Approved for delivery
Level: 5
Reference: ST0595
Version: 1
Date updated: 16/08/2019
Approved for delivery: 16 August 2019
Route: Transport and logistics
Typical duration: 15 months
Maximum funding: £27000
Trailblazer contact(s): vicky.newhouse@nats.co.uk
Employers involved in creating the standard: Royal Air Force, Royal Navy, NATS
EQA Provider: Civil Aviation Authority (TBC)
This EQA provider is currently going through the approval process with the Institute for Apprenticeships so is unable to help with any queries relating to this standard at the present time. If you need support in relation to any of the content on this page please contact the Institute for Apprenticeships.

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Version log

Version Date updated Change Previous version
1 16/08/2019 EPA plan published. Funding band published. Approved for delivery

Not available

1 06/02/2019 Standard published

Not available