Following on from British Science Week, when we celebrated the role that science, technology, engineering, and maths play in air traffic control, I want to share some of the ways we’re trying to inspire the next generation.

People are always fascinated by air traffic control– whether they already work in aviation or just wonder about those aircraft that criss-cross the sky.  But it’s not the first industry people think of when they think of STEM, so it’s important for us to get out there and tell our story.

STEM subjects are vital in ensuring the safety of air traffic. From engineers maintaining radars to our Flow Management team calculating and making decisions on air traffic flow throughout the day. Or designing and developing new software and technology, which is where my role focuses.

As part of that, I’m often invited to talk to people about how we use science and technology to reduce aviation’s climate change impacts, how unmanned air vehicles can be integrated into our airspace, and developing digital towers and new controller tools to enhance capacity in our airspace.

Whilst it’s been a bit trickier during lockdown those stories I’ve been delighted to continue to speak, albeit virtually, to several local branches of the Royal Aeronautical Society – an organisation I’ve long been involved in after enrolling at university, as a ‘Student Member’ some 25 years ago.

It gives us the platform to speak to a wide and diverse set of people, helping develop new ideas. And in (more) normal times, it makes more people aware of us and what a career with NATS could involve. It’s fair to say that my career at NATS has been enhanced through my involvement, and now it’s my turn to return the favour.

Most recently, I spoke to the RAeS Farnborough Branch, you can watch the recording here.

I’m looking forward to further opportunities over the coming months. It’s so important that we keep talking to people, both colleagues from across the industry and people outside the industry who can bring new thoughts and ideas. I’m hoping that during 2021 we can get back to providing these sessions in person before Zoom fatigue really kicks in!



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