A TRAINEE air traffic controller has revealed what life is like at Southend Airport.

Dax Rice, 23, from Canvey, has spoken about what made him take on one of the most challenging jobs possible during a question and answer session.

l What made you want to work at London Southend Airport?

“It’s an exciting environment to work in, and I wanted a new challenge and felt the airport was the most appropriate place for it. I also knew it would be a great way of fulfilling my career aspirations, to work at an expanding regional airport.”

l Did you have any previous airport experience?

“After finishing college, I worked for a flying school at a small airfield in North Essex called Andrewsfield, where I learnt to fly. I worked there for three years in the Operations department before I started work at London Southend Airport.”

l Have you always had an interest in aviation?

“From a very young age I knew I wanted to work within the aviation industry. Originally, I aspired to become an airline pilot and in May 2014 I obtained my private pilot’s licence. I then started to look for work that would give me some experience before continuing my flying career commercially. I found an advert for an air traffic control assistant on the London Southend Airport website and decided to apply. Thankfully I got the job and after working for six months decided air traffic control was much more exciting.”

l Did you study aviation or tourism?

“I studied aviation operations for two years at South Essex College in Southend. The course has definitely helped me kickstart my career and gave me good foundations when looking for employment within the aviation sector.”

l Describe a typical day?

“The best thing is that every day is different and there is never a ‘typical’ day. You are constantly faced with new challenges which keeps the job exciting. One of the most interesting aspects of working at an airport such as Southend is the integration of different types of aircraft. From an Airbus travelling at 180kts to a light aircraft travelling at 70 knots. This is just one of many challenges that you wouldn’t get if you worked at an airport such as Heathrow.”

l What’s next for you?

“I have been very lucky. After just 18 months of working as an assistant, I was sent away to Gloucester for eight months where I successfully completed all the necessary courses needed to become a trainee air traffic controller. I am now progressing through the training plan back at Southend Airport alongside an instructor where I hope to validate my tower rating around Christmas. I shall then hopefully start my radar training. On completion of my radar training, I will then become a fully validated air traffic controller.”

l What’s your favourite thing about working at London Southend Airport?

The airport is a fantastic environment to work in and I get to work with a great team where we all help and support one another. The job itself is diverse and no day is the same.”

l What are you career ambitions?

“I am looking forward to finishing all my training and becoming a fully validated air traffic controller in the near future.”