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PostPosted: Fri Jul 10, 2009 8:08 am 
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Hi all,

Just looking for personal experiences here.

Unpaid training for ATC. Per Nav Canada's site, VFR unpaid training is 4-6 months and IFR unpaid training is 7-14 months. From my understanding, due to the full-time training schedule and the time commitment required for self-study, it is hard to hold down even part-time work during this time.

So... how did you manage? If you did work, where and what was your schedule like? If you didn't work, did you have other income or familial support?

I'm just writing the assessment today so I'm nowhere near training yet, but I'm trying to strategize how I could make this work presuming I can jump the first hurdles.

Thanks in advance to anyone who takes the time to answer. :)

Edit: One of the bonus attractions of VFR (for me) is the shorter unpaid training time. Was this a factor for anyone else?



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PostPosted: Fri Jul 10, 2009 12:29 pm 
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IFR training for me was 10 months unpaid. I got a student line of credit from TD and was able to withdraw 10k from my RRSP under the lifelong learning plan. Good luck.


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 10, 2009 1:07 pm 
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Look at EI to see if you're eligible. I wouldn't bother with a part time job as studying will be your 2nd full time job after school. Live with your parents.


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 11, 2009 8:25 am 
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I worked part time and it was fine, but no social life during training because of it. It took 11 months before making 33k a year doing on the job training and 6 1/2 months later was making 6 digits. I did IFR and it is do able to work at the same time but I don't have kids or anything. It's tough no doubt but it is worth it!!


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 11, 2009 1:06 pm 
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OK here's my deal:

29, current salaried corporate gig, rented apartment with the fiancé, no kids, average consumer debt, small RRSP.

Living with parents is not an option: mom is overseas and dad has a small condo. The fiancé's parents don't want us at their place, guaranteed.

I suppose if I get there it'll be draw what I can from the RRSP under the LLP (I'll try my damndest to max it out in the meantime), work part-time, and then beg the families for assistance to scrape by. (We might have to move to a smaller/cheaper place if we need to, but if moving expenses are more than the money we'd save on rent for a year, then it's not worth it.)

Not to mention the overseas student loan I'm still paying off, but I think I quaify for 3-year payment holiday for that at least.

Thanks for your input guys, keep it coming, all info is helpful. :)



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PostPosted: Sat Jul 11, 2009 5:38 pm 
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I lived in a one bedroom apartment when I was in pilot school. I had another pilot pay me rent to live in my living room. I ate KD.. Cheap food and pilot roomates ;)

I now live at my inlaws.
I have a line of credit.
Yeah....



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PostPosted: Sat Jul 11, 2009 6:08 pm 
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Sean YOW wrote:
IFR training for me was 10 months unpaid. I got a student line of credit from TD and was able to withdraw 10k from my RRSP under the lifelong learning plan. Good luck.


Overall the training periods for IFR, at least in Toronto, are longer than they quote.

Sean is definitely in the Toronto speciality with the shortest unpaid training period! Most yyz specialities it is about 12 months unpaid.

The floor takes around 9-14 months, again depending on the speciality. 12 months is pretty much the minimum for my speciality. On the floor you get the training salary of 35k ish.

The VFR times you quote might be correct. I've only seen one go through yyz. It was around that.



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PostPosted: Sat Jul 11, 2009 6:16 pm 
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Another factor to consider is the success rate. My course had 40% make the floor. The other courses I've seen are about the same, maybe a touch higher (this is only about 3 courses, so take it for what it is worth). I'm not sure about the success rate on the floor, but at a guess the overall pass rate is less than 33% for IFR.

So one thing to consider is that after 12 months unpaid, you might end up cease trained with nothing to show for it. Or after 12 more months at a low-ish salary, same thing.

Not to be overly negative about it, but it is something to think about. If you make it, it is a great well-paid job. Just don't count on the great salary to pay off the loans - you might be doing that at your old salary.



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PostPosted: Sun Jul 12, 2009 6:09 am 
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Obviously getting all the way through training and then being CT'd upon hitting the floor is in the back of my mind... It would definitely be a hard thing to deal with, emotionally and financially. Also from Toronto training, if VFR means being posted to YYZ tower, is there ANY chance of checking out??

I like to plan but this process makes that difficult. My current career is great and stable, with room for advancement. There are only a few possibilities that could make me want to leave it. I have to figure out if it's worth chucking my current career for a "chance" at my dream job.

Well, I have some time before (if) I have to make that decision... :?

Sean: are you in OJT now? How is Toronto ACC?



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PostPosted: Sun Jul 12, 2009 10:37 am 
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jakey wrote:
Obviously getting all the way through training and then being CT'd upon hitting the floor is in the back of my mind... It would definitely be a hard thing to deal with, emotionally and financially. Also from Toronto training, if VFR means being posted to YYZ tower, is there ANY chance of checking out??

I like to plan but this process makes that difficult. My current career is great and stable, with room for advancement. There are only a few possibilities that could make me want to leave it. I have to figure out if it's worth chucking my current career for a "chance" at my dream job.

Well, I have some time before (if) I have to make that decision... :?

Sean: are you in OJT now? How is Toronto ACC?


Can you take Leave Without Pay from your current employer for the durations of the NavCanada training? That way, you have a spot when you get back.


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 13, 2009 9:36 am 
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jakey wrote:

Sean: are you in OJT now? How is Toronto ACC?


I've been in OJT since March and it has it's ups and downs but for the most part it's going really well. It's very challenging but also very satisfying.



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PostPosted: Tue Jul 14, 2009 11:15 am 
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A question for all those who've been through the training process: what do you think separates those who checkout from those who are CT'd? Is it attitude, commitment, work ethic, or do some people who get accepted into training simply turn out not to have the skills for the job? NAV Canada claims everyone who they accept has the right stuff. But if that's so, why do the majority fail?

For those of us still in the assessment/interview portion of the process, gaining some insight into why some people CT while others don't would be very helpful in weighing the risks.

Thanks in advance.



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PostPosted: Tue Jul 14, 2009 5:50 pm 
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I would love to hear the answer to this question as well... soo since no one has replied yet...
BUMP!!!


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 14, 2009 7:09 pm 
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Well the company is wrong. Not everyone has the right stuff and even if you're in, many other factors affect a successful outcome.


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 14, 2009 7:27 pm 
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NJ wrote:
Well the company is wrong. Not everyone has the right stuff and even if you're in, many other factors affect a successful outcome.


I'm curious as to what those factors are.



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PostPosted: Wed Jul 15, 2009 4:36 am 
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filosov wrote:
I'm curious as to what those factors are.



Have you tried a search? I am pretty sure this has been debated over and over.



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PostPosted: Wed Jul 15, 2009 11:57 am 
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All I will say is that commitment will get you to the START of simulator. Unfortunately you'll have invested 5-6 moths before the intangibles come into play.


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 16, 2009 11:29 am 
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In response to "filosov's" question, the answer is all of the above. Solid work ethic and commitment will get you through the Basic course. The people that don't make it thru Basic are the ones that don't go home and study MANOPS for 2-3 hours a night and don't take advantage of the free time in the classroom on the weekends for practice runs on the sims. This extra time and effort away from the classroom does not go unnoticed by your instructors.

Once you get thru Basic and into a specialty course, that's where the fun starts. You still have to apply time to MANOPS study while in the classroom as well as additional study for unit agreements and specialty procedures. Again, good work ethic will get you thru this. Once you get into the simulator your attitude will play a big part. You are going to receive ALOT of criticism for ALOT of things. How you handle this "constructive feedback" will go a long way to determining your success. If you battle the instructors on every little thing and don't admit when you've made a mistake, they will do nothing to help you. However, is you take the feedback positively, admit your mistakes, they will go that extra mile to help you out. As far as skills, I've seen some people who ace the written exams get into the sim and have a very hard time applying the rules to the radar. They get into the sim and find they can't do the job, whether its identifying conflicts, solvings conflicts, or the challenge of multi tasking. Some of these things can be fixed with practice and some cannot. Even thought the instructors will try a help you (attitude permitting), the "one thing" the Nav Canada training program does not have is patience. You'll get your chance to improve, but it is not a long one. This just adds to the stress.

The floor is an entirely different beast altogether. It moves alot faster than the sim, real world traffic is different than sim traffic, and you'll a pile of requests from pilots or other controllers that you have to deal with that you have not seen before. You are expected to deal with these scenarios with a little help from your OJI (in the beginning, near the end you are on your own). Attitude on the floor is most important. Due to scheduling (holidays, sick days, etc) you will work with anywhere from 2 to 14 OJI's (I had 12). Each OJI has a different way of doing things and you will have to adapt to each OJI's style when you are working with them. Otherwise you are going to hear about it and receive some interesting comments on your daily training report. You can argue your point, just be gentle. I'm not saying that you should roll over and be at the mercy of your OJI, just make your point, acknowledge theirs, and move on. At the end of the day, your OJI has a big say in your success. If the other controllers in the specialty don't like you, the system will find a way to get rid of you. This is the toughest part about training, and the most stressful. You'll have plenty of opportunity to develop your own style once you are licensed. Hopefully you get a good OJI (there are some out there) that will let you do your thing and fix your own mistakes (the best way to learn).

No matter how good you are, the training process is one of the most stressful things you'll experience. Keep a positive attitude, work hard, and with a little luck and natural ability you will get a license.



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PostPosted: Thu Jul 16, 2009 11:08 pm 
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parrot_head hit the nail on the head.

Hard work and commitment will get you through the basic course.

Specialty course will be more challenging, more understanding required than regurgitation.

Once you hit the simulator and the floor, I would say it's 70% attitude and 30% natural skill. Keep the positive attitude and as long as you have something approaching that 30% skill, you should make it.



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PostPosted: Fri Jul 17, 2009 4:02 pm 
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I was the only student on my course who had a job.

I am also the only student who got a license.

I worked part-time 20-30 hours / week at the airport:

Week went like this:

0400-0730 Working the ramp at the airport
0815-1615 Training

1800-2200 Working the ramp

I had some downtime at the airport most days and I could study inbetween flights, and I worked pretty much the entire weekends. It wasn't by choice it was required for me to survive. There was no student loans or assistance of any kind when I went through.



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PostPosted: Fri Jul 17, 2009 8:05 pm 
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+1 for Parrot Heads analysis. He pretty much hit it bang on.
My course had 8 in generic, 4 got licenses.
50% checkout rate.

But being a qualified controller now, I will even add that controllers from other complexes have a say on a trainee. If enough complaints come through while playing pool on break, it plays a role, weather it is informal or not.



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PostPosted: Sun Jul 19, 2009 5:29 am 
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Checkout rate here for the last few courses is around 25-30%, and definately every trainee is given a fair shake, and in every case I can think of the OJI's took every possible step to try and get them there, and give them chances.

Bottom line, even if you're good, training sucks, it's a whole other kind of stress.

I don't mean the training program sucks, I just mean the constant daily battle of self-improvement, and the "light at the end of the tunnel" which some days gets brighter, other days it gets dim, once you get so far you just want to qualify and it's a very different envrionment than any other job.



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PostPosted: Tue Jul 28, 2009 6:43 pm 
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Thanks all for your responses. It's great to be hearing from others who have been through the process.

My dashboard light just went green for the assessment which is good news. I'll be waiting for the next step if it's to be.



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PostPosted: Thu Jul 30, 2009 7:27 pm 
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cpl_atc wrote:
jakey wrote:
Thanks all for your responses. It's great to be hearing from others who have been through the process.

My dashboard light just went green for the assessment which is good news. I'll be waiting for the next step if it's to be.


I don't know what YYZ's success rate is under the post-NCTI program, but Winnipeg's only graduating 8% of those who start the training. Be very careful in making your decision, and DO NOT burn any bridges with your current employer if/when you proceed. If it is possible to arrange a leave of absence, that would be a very prudent thing to do.


I'm not sure my company has ever arranged leaves of absence... I'll see if I am accepted into a course and then maybe I'll feel out HR on the issue.



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PostPosted: Fri Jul 31, 2009 8:11 am 
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Thanks for all the input from people who've been through the process. Much appreciated!

I got a green light on the Assessment Session. Waiting for a call re the phone interview.

Apropos of that: I heard someone mention on an adjacent message board that they were called in for the second interview in YYZ. Wonder if that means that those who took the exam on July 10th are not up for the announced Sep/Oct training courses, since I'm not aware of any of us in that group who've done the 1st interview yet. It would seem to be cutting it a bit close.

Of course, starting dates can always be changed, new courses added...

Anyone from the July 10th exam get a call yet?



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