Students from King's Foundation outside NATS Prestwick Centre

We recently opened the doors of Prestwick Centre to several students from Ayrshire schools as part of the King’s Foundation programme.

Keen to understand more about aviation careers and air traffic control, the students were given a tour of the centre which allowed them to gain an understanding of how the air traffic control (ATC) operation works.

Some of my colleagues and I took the group around the Service Management Command Centre (SMCC), where members of the SMCC and ATC teams shared their experiences, career paths and advice. It was a great opportunity to also talk about the variety of roles available at NATS, not just those in engineering or technology.

Saying that, there was a large focus on engineering discussions, which made sense given that the visit formed part of a wider Aerospace Skills Week that the students were taking part in through the King’s Foundation. The visit to our centre helped contribute towards the students’ Level 1 City and Guilds Qualification in Preparing for Work. So, it was an honor to be involved in that part of the journey with them.

“The visit gave me motivation for school and helped me figure out what I want to do. Before this week I wanted to become an engineer; I just didn’t know what kind. I now want to be an aerospace engineer.” Connor, student

On the last day of Aerospace Skills Week, myself and my colleague Dave Ross, who works in the SMCC, attended a session at Dumfries House’s STEM facility, where the King’s Foundation is based. We gave the pupils an opportunity to use the controller/pilot simulator, and also helped answer questions from the group during a Q&A discussion about the aviation industry.

Students from King's Foundation on a tour of NATS Prestwick Centre

Overall, feedback was really positive, with the group saying that their visit to Prestwick Centre was one of their highlights. I thoroughly enjoyed being part of the experience, especially as you could see the young people’s confidence growing throughout the week.

We’ve left the door open, ensuring the students know we’re available for any future mentoring or advice. Hopefully one or two were inspired to consider a career in aviation as a result of their visit!

The King’s Foundation (formerly the Prince’s Foundation) was formed in 1986 by His Majesty King Charles III as a charity whose aim is to build a sustainable future through, education, regeneration, and building stronger communities.


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