Good evening everyone,
I'm happy to bring you all and update on training withing the vACC and a few new developments that have occurred in the past few months. The entire team at VATéir has put a monumental effort into training since the beginning of this year and the results really do reflect this. Thus far, we have had 6 S2s, 2 S3 and 2 C1 controllers all join the ranks with over 320 mentoring sessions conducted since the beginning of this year!
Thanks to the guys at VATeud, we have also had 2 C3 exams in the past month, both of which were a great success, congrats again to Cathal and John on the rating which really shows your dedication and service to the network.
All of this wouldn't have been possible without the great work from the mentoring team and training department so I would like to express my thanks for their dedication and hard work.
The entire training system has recently undergone a huge overhaul with a new course system and new structure to the different training programs. For those who may not be familiar, I'd like to briefly explain the new training structure for our programs.
The first training program within VATéir is the OBS-S2 program. This will see students progress from an observer rating to a S2 (Tower) rating. Throughout the program students will take part in mentored sessions on sweatbox and live on the network. Students will also be required to carry out a large amount of "self study", by means of reading up on theory and procedures available in the training courses.
The course is divided into two separate phases:
Initial Phase: The initial phase of the OBS-S2 program will be conducted on Shannon and Cork where students will learn the basics of controlling. Students will be required to put a large effort into their training in order to improve and progress while continuing to study and learn the theory behind what they are doing. Having displayed a good general understanding of procedures and a solid ability to control, students will be issued with a solo validation on Shannon or Cork to begin gaining experience on the network. Having gained 8 hours on this solo validation, Students will undergo a progress check before moving onto the next stage of training.
Dublin Phase: The second stage of the OBS-S2 program is conducted in Dublin. Students will once again commence training on sweatbox and then begin to transition to live mentoring sessions on the network. Once again, in order to be successful, students are required to put a huge effort into learning the procedures and theory needed to control the complex aerodrome that is Dublin. Students will, at the discretion of the mentoring team, be issued a solo validation for Dublin lasting a total of 30 days. Towards the end of the solo validation students will be put forward for an exam.
The new structure of the program seems to be working very well. We are constantly assessing the system and looking at ways to improve and develop. Finding a balance has also been key to this success. The program is designed in such a way that all elements of controlling are covered, some during the session with a mentor and others in the training material provided. I’m a firm believer in the idea that ’you get out what you put in’ and when it comes to training, this really is the case. Your progression and success is determined by your commitment and willingness to learn and improve.
Our second program is the S2-S3 program. This is perhaps one of the most challenging jumps to make in one’s training with a huge amount of practical and theoretical learning to be done. While it is challenging, it is more than doable and incredibly rewarding.
The course is divided into two phases similar to the OBS-S2 program allowing the basics to be learned on Shannon and Cork before focusing training on point merge in Dublin. The training department is currently working on a similar course system for S2-S3 training and we have recently finalised our new S3 Theory Document and Workbook which are a fantastic addition to the syllabus and we have had great feedback on them thus far, huge thanks to @Cathal Boyce for his work on this.
Cathal and I are working to re-develop the C1 training programme as it is a complex process and once again, a huge learning curve for the student. Expect some updates on this as we progress further.
I am delighted to say announce we have got 3 brand new mentors on the team, @Phil Hutchinson, @Oscar Murphy and @Saulius Baltramonaitis. A great bunch of controllers and mentors who have, in the short time they’ve been with us, proven to be a huge asset to the team. Thanks for all the work you guys have been putting in and welcome!
So, time for something new! As the vACC grows and expands, it’s important that the systems that we have in place are ready to expand also. With this in mind, I have decided to create 3 separate positions to oversee each individual training program. The idea of a Training Manager is to ensure that their own training system, be it OBS-S2 or S3-C1 runs smoothly, efficiently and to ensure that everyone is getting the training that they need and deserve. Some of the key roles of the training manager include:
Overseeing and monitoring the progression of students.
Monitoring the “flow” of students in and out of the training system and letting the training director know when a new position opens up on each training program.
Informing the training Director of any Exams, Pre-Exams or Progress Checks that need to be carried out.
Managing a team of mentors offering support, advice and guidance where necessary.
Letting the TD know of any issues that may arise in the training program.
At present, the three individual Training Manager positions are:
OBS-S2: I shall be covering this role until a suitable candidate has been chosen. The OBS-S2 program is without doubt the busiest at present therefore some thought and consideration will be put into picking a candidate to fill this role.
S2-S3: Paul McDyer
S3-C1: Cathal Boyce
I am excited to be expanding the team and look forward to welcoming new mentors and managers in the near future!
Overall I'm happy to say that training is progressing well and going from strength to strength. The vACC as a whole is expanding and growing at a rate most have not experienced before and with more mentoring and controlling, more events and more pilots, we are in a really strong position which is fantastic. A final thanks to all the controllers, mentors, pilots and fellow staff for making the vACC what it is and I'll speak to you all in another update in the not too distant future!