Becoming a NATS IP

We recently Tweeted “our Early Careers schemes are now open!“ and provided a link for graduates to find out more.

Industrial Placement schemes (IPs) are available across NATS as well as vacancies for Direct Entry Graduates (DEGs) in Engineering. IPs are for students in their second year at university, who are looking for a sandwich year opportunity, whilst DEG opportunities are designed for new graduates who benefit from a structured training programme which builds upon their degree.

We currently have Industrial Placement and Direct Entry Graduate opportunities available. If you would like to know more, and potentially apply, please visit our Careers site But what does it involve and, if you’re successful, what should you expect from such a scheme with NATS? Applying for such positions may seem a little daunting so we asked some of our new IPs to share some tips and first impressions. This is what they had to say:

Conchita Mliswa – Industrial Placement in the Operational Analysis department
Studying BSc Mathematics at the University of Greenwich


Conchita Mliswa

I assist in carrying out various analysis on NATS’ operational performance.

My top tip for applicants is to do your research, so you understand the requirements of the role you wish to apply for. You can then match your own experiences with the role and tailor your application, CV, covering letter and online application (which consists of questions about your competencies) so they are relevant. This also reassures you that you are applying for the right role and that NATS is right for you.

The highlight of my placement, so far, has been my visit to the Swanwick Control Centre where I gained an insight into how air traffic controllers manage aircraft flying over England and Wales. I had the opportunity to listen to a number of controllers as they directed flights in some of the world’s busiest and most complex airspace. This experience gave me an understanding of the challenging and yet exciting role of an air traffic controller. It also helped me better understand how the work I am doing fits into the wider operation.

I am hoping my placement will develop my technical and personal skills, helping me in the final year of my degree and also in my longer term career. So far I have been able to develop my communication skills at NATS by regularly sharing my knowledge with different members of the department and I believe there will be more room for me to build on my skills the longer I am here.

Sara Faulkner – Industrial Placement in the SPACE department
Studying Aeronautical Engineering at the University of Brighton

Sara Faulkner

Sara Faulkner

I am working in the SPACE department, which focuses on innovation and rapid prototyping.

I would recommend applying to NATS early and with an innovative mindset. Prove that you want to learn and are keen to be involved but most of all have fun on the interview day. It is great to meet new students who potentially will be joining with you, and of course meet the employees who interview you.

My top achievements outside NATS are running in the Brighton marathon and safely skippering a sailing yacht onto a berth with no engine. However, my NATS highlights have included being given the reigns of a project and being allowed to pursue it in my own direction. This has given me the opportunity to learn about different areas within the business and to get to know people who work in different departments.  I hope to achieve my EngTech qualification and some of my Chartership requirements within this year. I also hope to better understand the workings of the industrial world, make good friends and put myself in a good position to return to work at NATS as a Direct Entry Graduate after I complete my Masters.

Andy Dyer – Industrial Placement in Supply Chain
Studying Business Studies at the University of Portsmouth

Andy Dyer

Andy Dyer

Supply Chain was one of the greatest areas of interest for me during my first year studying Business Operations. Working at NATS, it has been interesting to learn more about the organisation and see the differences between a traditional supply chain and NATS, a more services orientated organisation rather than a production based organisation.

I recommend really targeting what you include with relevant skills for the role you’re applying for. Highlight the relevant business skills, as it isn’t all about your academic achievements and skills. Show you are a part of a greater community outside of your studies and participate in extra-curricular activities that add value to your application and personal profile.

During the assessment day it is important to have pre-prepared rough answers to standard interview type questions; making sure you can clearly highlight your strengths, weaknesses and your skills -how you have developed/applied them to relevant situations. NATS is a unique business, so it is important to research the business and to understand what NATS does and what different business areas it covers. Have a good look around their website!

One of the differentiators between candidates is the ability to show your personality. NATS is investing in people, and aside from skills, your personality is an important factor, it is something that needs to come through in your responses to questions and during the whole assessment day.

The highlight of my first weeks at NATS has been my involvement in the Print Tender for the production of Visual Flight Rules (VFR) Charts, which are aeronautical charts that the general flying community use to navigate their light aircraft. The charts are safety critical, so their detail, clarity and durability have to meet high level requirements; otherwise they are not fit for purpose. I have been leading the contact between potential new suppliers and have introduced them to the process of what we are trying to achieve. I am also co-ordinating the tender through the NATS e-sourcing tool. I have been involved in the whole process, which will go beyond my time at NATS, but means I will be involved for the whole year of my placement. It is great to follow something from the start to the latter stages.

The greatest challenge so far has been adapting to working in a professional environment, having not experienced working in this type of environment before. Getting used to the terminology sometimes makes it difficult to fully understand everything that is said in meetings, but it gets easier with time.

I hope to have developed and enhanced my core business skills at the end of my placement, whilst gaining a great deal of knowledge about the organisation; having a clear idea of its goals and vision for the future. I hope to take what I have learnt about supply chain and the general practice of business life back into my final year studies. I hope this exposure to real business situations will ultimately help my grades. Since the start of my placement I have been thinking about using my placement year to discover an area of interest for my dissertation topic during my final year. Having the opportunity to hear the views and opinions of experienced working professionals will help enhance my work.

Jack Papadatos – Industrial Placement in business and delivery support for NATS training
Studying Economics at Bournemouth University

Jack Papadatos

Jack Papadatos

My advice would be to include any achievement, milestone, course or training that you completed in your life regardless of the context. In my application, I tried to portray myself as a successful individual with plenty of ambition and drive. I did this by showing what I had accomplished in my life by the age of 20. When talking about competencies, which you have demonstrated in the past, be sure to mention the skill used, how it was effective, and the outcome of your actions or work. Finally, it goes without saying, do plenty of research about NATS and match your personal goals with the company’s objectives.

I would recommend students apply regardless of their course, as people from a range of courses applied for the position I am lucky enough to hold.

The highlight of my first six weeks is the responsibility I have been given and the opportunity to work in many different areas of the department. I was handed a project which was scheduled to take 3 months to complete. This project has enabled me to work with all kinds of people within the business and has seen me develop a variety of transferable skills.

I haven’t just been sat at my desk doing the same task every day, but have been given an extremely proactive role allowing me to contribute in a number of areas. I have been involved just as much as any member of staff here and am treated just like everyone else.

By the end of my year I wish to have developed strong presentation skills. For my project I have given demos and presentations and attended regular meetings, which has increased my confidence.

I joined NATS as I wanted to work in a large company which offered a range of opportunities. The job role has no direct links with economics but tasks like resource planning, supply and demand profiling, and producing Monthly Business Summaries have given me the chance to see how the economic climate impacts on the business. My IT skills have improved dramatically and this will become very helpful in years to come.

Find out more

If you would like to find out more about Industrial Placement and Graduate opportunities at NATS, visit the Early Careers section of our website.


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