Preparing for Competency Based Training

The effective performance of any air traffic management system depends on competent and qualified air traffic management professionals. Air traffic controllers (ATCs) and air traffic safety electronics personnel (ATSEP) who are tasked to manage, maintain and operate these systems must have a shared understanding of what is expected of them in terms of performance. What does this mean for those who are to train the Next Generation Aviation Professionals (NGAP) and what framework best positions training organisations to ensure these professionals are adequately equipped with the necessary knowledge, skills and attributes to achieve competency? 

Until recently, with the introduction of ICAO Doc 10056 – Manual on Air Traffic Controller Competency-based Training and Assessment and ICAO Doc 10057 - Manual on Air Traffic Safety Electronics Personnel Competency-based Training and Assessment, there has been limited guidance as to what comprises a competency-based training system for ATCO or ATSEP professionals. 

The challenge that many training organisations or ANSPs may face is how to implement these recommendations and practices. For many, the concept of moving from traditional training models, which may have been rooted in error based assessment, towards a competency based model provides an opportunity to review their current training methodologies and supporting content. This opportunity may extend to incorporating fresh ideas in the tools used to support the application of knowledge in both the simulated and live operational environments. For the trainee and trainers, this translates into having a supportive training system that not only caters for a range of learning styles but clearly identifies the standard to achieve the measurable outcomes – this provides all stakeholders in the training pipeline with the reassurance that the journey towards competency is achieved through an integrated performance of knowledge, skills and attributes.

With the promulgation of these two key documents, which contain recommendations for best practice, the framework from which to prepare for the training of the NGAP professionals is provided. For air traffic control training, guidelines for the composition of what is prescribed for Basic Training courses through to all the Rating Courses can be found -  an exciting time to drive change by modelling new training methodologies against these recommendations.

Further Reading

ICAO Doc 10056 – Manual on Air Traffic Controller Competency-based Training and Assessment

ICAO Doc 10057 - Manual on Air Traffic Safety Electronics Personnel Competency-based Training and Assessment

About the Author

Dean Urquhart - Training Team Leader, Airways Corporation of New Zealand Ltd.

Dean is responsible for delivering training to operational staff at Airways New Zealand. He is actively involved in the development of new courseware meeting ICAO and EASA requirements.