The Air Traffic and Navigation Services (ATNS) has offered a once-in-a-life-time opportunity to 24 young female matriculants to undergo specialised aviation training to become Air Traffic Controllers (ATCOs).
The group completed an intensive four-week induction course that included visits to airports in and around Gauteng.
ATNS Head of External Corporate Communications, Percy Morokane, said the trainees have gone through a rigorous regime of assessments (including thorough medicals) to meet specified international requirements to become ATCOs.
“As part of its recruitment drive, ATNS has put effective transformation programs in place, primarily to increase access to high quality training and skills development opportunities, which will enable women to effectively participate in the economy and reduce inequalities.
“ATNS’ recruitment objectives are aimed at achieving the fundamental transformation of inequities linked to class, race, gender, age and disability in our society – to mention but one,” he said.
Morokane said over the next two years, the group will go through a technology-intensive internationally-accredited Air Traffic Management course, which will enable them to become fully fledged ATCOs.
Recent research regarding transformation indicates that the aviation industry still reflects huge disparities between men and women.
“Occupations held by women, and nonwhite employees are located in the semiskilled occupational levels. Notably, major changes have taken place in ‘senior management’ occupations.
“This category has gone through rapid transformation during the last decade or two, with the inclusion of more black employees as well as female, younger and intermediate skilled workforce.
“Changes in other occupational categories, particularly those related with technical skills, such as Air Traffic Control have been very limited,” he said.
Morokane said a particular challenge facing the industry is increasing the participation of young people, particularly females in the technical occupational categories.
“Meeting the future demand of technical skills in the sector largely depends on the correction of these imbalances by critical role-players such as ATNS.
“This intake is a first of its kind because historically, ATCOs were integrated with other aviation careers streams – such as Aeronautical Information Management and Assistant Air Traffic Officers. This was as a result of a very low number of qualifying candidates,” he said.