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Natasha Hansen


Air Traffic Controller




What did you study?

Air Traffic Control.

Why did you choose this course?

When I was young, family friends were Air Traffic Controllers which is how I knew about the job. I visited the Christchurch tower when I was in high school and thought it looked like an awesome job to do, so I considered it for the future.

What did you enjoy about your course?

It was challenging yet rewarding, and I was able to work within a tight-knit group where I made lifelong friends.

What helped you to successfully complete your course?

Coming from a sporting background, I knew that in order for me to succeed I needed to work hard. So along with all the support from my Airways instructors, I was able to implement good study habits to help me succeed.

What advice do you have for future students?

The harder you work, the greater the rewards!




What do you do on an average day?

Typically, I solve traffic conflictions between aircraft within my airspace, while creating sequences for them to take-off and land safely on my aerodrome.

What is most exciting about your job?

No two days ever seem to be the same, so you always have a great deal of variety within your working weeks.

What opportunities does your job offer?

Depending on your goals, you have the opportunity to work all around the country gaining work experience that can then take you offshore to work as an Air Traffic Controller. There is also an abundance of career progression opportunities within Airways, so you can move into more of a management role if this is your thing.

What skills, training, education or past experiences helped you secure your job?

I had lived overseas for two years as a professional track cyclist before finally deciding that I wanted a career that would be able to compliment my cycle training. The discipline and life skills that I gained from racing and training at such a high level equipped me with the appropriate tools to be successful and work well within the Airways team environment.

Where do you see yourself heading in the future within this industry?

I work full time as an Air Traffic Controller and am able to compete and train on the bike when I’m not at work. After recently returning from the London Olympics, I am now building towards the 2014 Commonwealth Games and 2016 Olympic Games, as a member of the Bike NZ High Performance Track Cycling programme.

I eventually want to move to a bigger, more challenging unit, however in the meantime I’m very satisfied with my current role as it allows me to have a rewarding career and  gives me plenty of free time to continue to pursue my dream of winning an Olympic Gold medal.

What advice do you have for anyone wanting to work in the ATC sector/industry?

Check out the Airways website which will give you all the information you need to know about the job and the people you need to contact to get involved. If this isn’t enough, the team at Airways are very friendly, so pick up the phone to get further advice on what steps to take from here.