Airspace Q1 2019 – Confidence and resilience


It is important to support air traffic controllers in what is a highly pressurised working environment. NATS has been using a ‘confidence and resilience’ programme for a number of years. It provides both trainees and valid controllers with a set of tools and strategies to regain confidence should that be necessary. It also helps them to optimise performance under pressure and to fulfil training and operational potential.

The programme has helped many trainees and valid controllers to overcome human resource issues that have caused problems in achieving validation or maintaining a satisfactory level of performance when valid.

NATS integrates the training of technical and non-technical skills together. When a trainee joins NATS, they receive a series of training modules and one-to-one coaching support to develop confidence and resilience to help them along the end-to-end training journey.

Trainees learn techniques to help them to keep up with the fast pace of learning, to respond to feedback effectively and to maintain focus under sustained pressure. Practical techniques are taught which are taken from sports psychology and these enable trainees to develop purposeful practice, set learning goals effectively and maximise their social support structure.

Through the use of the confidence and resilience programme, NATS has increased validation rates and reduced validation times. NATS has also kept controllers operational who were at risk of losing their licence. While this provides business benefits, it also helps individuals to become and remain effective air traffic controllers.

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