Women in Aviation

2015 is a very special year for 24 young matriculants, who have been offered a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity by Air Traffic and Navigation Services (ATNS) SOC, to undergo specialised aviation training, to become air traffic controllers (ATCOs).

On Friday, the group completed an intensive four-week induction course which included visits to airports in and around Gauteng. They have gone through a rigorous regime of assessments, including thorough medicals, in order to meet specified international requirements, to become ATCOs.

All are women.

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.

In the next two years, this group will go through a technology-intensive internationally-accredited Air Traffic Management (ATM) 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 non-white employees are located in the semi-skilled 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’ reads the paper.

Changes in other occupational categories, particularly those related with technical skills, such as air traffic control have been very limited.

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 career streams such as aeronautical information management and assistant air traffic officers. This was as a result of a very low number of qualifying candidates.

For more information, please contact ATNS.