Recruiting the next generation of air traffic controllers

5 May 2017

EUROCONTROL is calling for highly qualified and motivated young people interested in pursuing a unique and rewarding career in air traffic control. A recruitment campaign is currently underway to find suitable candidates for student air traffic controller (ATCO) training, scheduled to begin in October 2017. We are still looking for an additional ten students to start training in the autumn. The students who successfully complete the training will join the international team at our Maastricht Upper Area Control Centre in the Netherlands. Below, you will find information about the selection procedure, training programme and career possibilities.

A career like no other

Air traffic controllers are at the heart of a truly unique industry, taking responsibility for aircraft safety and ensuring their timely take-off and landing. The work is challenging and demanding, yet fascinating and immensely rewarding. If you would like to learn more about the ATCO profession, you can read the testimonials on our dedicated website, or watch our video series. Be sure to also check out our recently launched Instagram page. Follow us @maastricht_atc to connect with our air traffic controller community, and find out what a typical day at our Maastricht Centre looks like.

Selecting the candidates

Specialised training is required before you can join this team of professionals. For the selected candidates, we will pay for that training – plus an allowance while you learn. Before starting the ATCO ab-initio training, candidates need to complete an application form and pass a pre-employment aptitude test. But first, they need to make sure that they fulfil all of the entry requirements. All candidates must be a national of one of our Member States and be younger than 25 at the start of the training. Furthermore, they should have completed secondary education at an advanced level, and be free from any military service obligation.

Selection starts with a review of the application form. If the applicant is found suitable, he/she will be invited to our Maastricht Centre for tests and interview. The selection process for trainee controllers is rigorous, and reflects the level of competence expected of participants in the programme, but this should not discourage anyone from applying.

Training for the job

Training to be an air traffic controller takes between two and a half and three years. Courses start in February and October each year, and are taught entirely in English.

The first phase of the training, the basic training, takes place at the National School of Civil Aviation (ENAC) in Toulouse, France. Basic training is immediately followed by unit training at the Maastricht Centre. This training will allow students to control real air traffic in the Centre’s operations room, under the supervision of a dedicated instructor. Students who have obtained the necessary qualifications at the end of the training period will receive a European air traffic controller licence.

Building a career

There are numerous possibilities for further career development. Air traffic controllers may choose to spend their whole career in the control room, or alternatively consider utilising their skills and experience in another field. They can become professional trainers, safety experts, or experienced operational support to development projects in various fields related to air traffic control.

Find out more on our dedicated website

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