Competency based training is key to securing ATM skills for the future

30 September 2016

It is commonly acknowledged that “what we learn with pleasure we never forget”. Accordingly, we do those things gladly that allow us to best demonstrate our abilities and competencies. Competency-based training is therefore one of the most powerful and meaningful ways to learn – no matter what the subject.

As many in the aviation industry are aware, it is forecast that there will be a shortage of skilled aviation professionals in the near future, which includes air traffic controllers. The lack of harmonised competencies and the limited awareness of the next generation of the different types of aviation jobs available have further compounded the problem.

To address this, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) launched the Next Generation of Aviation Professionals (NGAP) initiative to ensure that enough qualified and competent aviation professionals are available to operate, manage and maintain the future international air transport system. Its mission is to attract, train and retrain aviation professionals and support competency based training for a more sustainable skills pipeline.

In tandem, recognising the urgent need for a new generation of air traffic controllers, CANSO has established the Next Generation of Aviation Professionals Implementation Task Force (NITF), reporting to the CANSO Human Resources Workgroup. The objectives are to support ICAO’s NGAP initiative and promote global awareness and cooperation among air navigation service providers (ANSPs) in the field of air traffic management (ATM) training.

To this end, CANSO supported a pilot ICAO Competency Based Training Workshop this summer in Montreal (28-30 June) and the first official workshop held last week (21-23 September) in Mexico City. These will be followed by more workshops across the globe in 2017, including in Lima, Dakar and Nairobi.

These workshops are designed to educate regulators, training organisations and training practitioners on the merits of competency based training for air traffic controllers and air traffic safety electronics personnel (ATSEP) and its role in addressing the predicted skills shortage. CANSO’s involvement ensures continued support to both ICAO and CANSO Member organisations and ultimately establishes a vital platform for the training of aviation professionals.

So, in the spirit of the words of Benjamin Franklin, “tell me and I'll forget. Show me, and I may not remember. Involve me, and I'll understand” – will you join us in our mission? Will you be a champion for the next generation and become part of the NITF?
If the answer is ‘’yes” – we would really like to hear from you, so please send an email to We look forward to welcoming you to the team.



  • Training

About the author

Andrea Ivasivka CANSO Policy Programme Manager

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