This topic is a brief summary of what the application process is like in regards to becoming a trainee air traffic controller at Airways NZ. In 2008 I applied to be a trainee air traffic controller, while still in high school, I was not old enough to start my training, as the legal age is 21, so I decided to go to Massey University and complete a Bachelor of Aviation Management. The following are the stages involved and my experiences throughout the application process; however, trying to recall an event that happened three years ago is going to be a challenge
The application process is rather simple, firstly take a look at the Airways NZ website and see if you have what it takes. The eligibility to become a trainee largely involve having the stuff, in terms of being decisive and goal focused, and being a team player. There are a few other requirements such as being a New Zealand citizen and being 20 years or older that you may need to be aware of, and just as any other aviation job there is a medical you must meet the requirements of.
After applying Airways will send you a personality questionnaire just to make sure you will fit within the company and have the mind set of an air traffic controller. An example of which can be found here. Once you pass this test, you will be asked to come to a testing site, either at Christchurch, Wellington or Auckland, and sit a series of mental tests that will show you have what it takes.
The initial tests are comprised of following instructions, checking, spatial awareness, and diagrammatic reasoning. These tests prove you have the mental abilities that are needed to be an air traffic controller. I found these test challenging, but I managed to pass. The online practice tests were a fantastic help, and the practice run you get before the actual test during the assessment is also of benefit. Airways NZ is really keen to get individuals into the role of an air traffic controller and will help in any aspect to make sure you succeed.
Practice tests can be found here
After you have passed the tests, which you will know shortly after completing them, you will be asked to an short interview where you will be asked questions based on your intentions, and the reasons you chose to be an air traffic controller.
You will then be emailed a confirmation and placement for the assessment center, where the final testing and interviews begin.
The assessment center is the final stage of the application process, here you will be tested using computer based testing, group and individual exercises and an interview. It is quite a fun day, as you get to meet new people and the way the tests are put together make the day hassle free, plus lunch is provided. The computer based testing was one of my favorites, mainly due to the test where small numbers with circles around them representing planes cross the screen and you have to eliminate the smallest amount of "planes" as necessary to prevent collisions.
The group and individual assignments were interesting, there are a bunch of people sitting around the candidates while you are being tested but you hardly notice them because you are trying to get the job done. Best thing of all is, you don't need any previous aviation knowledge in order to do a fantastic job.
Once you have done all that is required during the day, you will be emailed or called within a fortnight to confirm you have a trainee position with Airways NZ, and even if you do have to wait three years like I had to, it is well worth it, because Airways NZ, as I have learnt, is a great company to work for.
Want to know more?
- Airways Trainee Controller
- Class 3 Medical (Page 28)