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FEAST

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ATCO Selection

Definition

FEAST (First European Air Traffic Controller Selection Test) Service

Background

  • The timely and professional selection of trainees for air traffic control is a key element for successful and cost effective ATC operations by air navigation service providers.
  • To assist in effective decision-making in selecting the most suitable applicants, selection tools are used. The development and maintenance of these specialised selection tools is costly and time consuming. Furthermore, the application and use of such tools is as important as the choice of the tools themselves. If such tools can be harmonised and used across cultural and organizational boundaries in different European States, then there are clear potential benefits offering cost and time savings and an increase in the quality of recruitment and selection decision making leading to reductions in the costs associated with failures in ATC training.
  • The EUROCONTROL FEAST test package and FEAST service has been designed and put into use to offer just such strategic and operating advantages.
  • The FEAST test package was developed, tested and evaluated during 2000 - 2005. Since 2006 a full service has been provided to users. In 2010, a study on the predictive validity of the FEAST cognitive ability tests was carried out. In 2016, 2019 and 2020, validation studies for the FEAST work sample tests followed. The four studies established a clear link between the FEAST test scores and later performance in the ATCO training.

Objective

FEAST assesses the knowledge, skills and abilities of applicants necessary for the ATCO job. The aim is to provide an easily administered package of scientifically sound selection tests and available for multi-State use.

The objectives of the FEAST Service are to provide implementation support including helpdesk to users, a centralised infrastructure and web platform for the delivery of the tests, future enhancements allowing customers to share the costs and benefits of developments and technical evolution.

FEAST does not participate in the selection process itself. Selection decisions are made solely by the recruiting ANSP or ATC training institute.

Finally, EUROCONTROL sponsors and facilitates the FEAST User Group meetings and communications.

The FEAST service

The FEAST Service is provided to civil and military ANSPs and ATC training institutes subject to the signature of a license agreement consisting of:

  • A software application for the selection of ab-initio ATC trainees.
  • A test package comprising:
    • A battery of cognitive ability tests (multi-tasking, planning ability, learning and applying rules, processing speed and attention, 3 D visualization).
    • An English language, listening and comprehension test.
    • Two work sample tests.
    • The FEAST personality Questionnaire.
  • Full implementation support including helpdesk and accreditation training course with user and administration manuals and guidance material.
  • Sponsorship and facilitation by EUROCONTROL of FEAST User Group Validation and psychometric studies carried out on behalf of FEAST users.
  • The application and database are hosted on secure servers.

The FEAST Service is currently used by 50 ANSPs and ATC training institutes in Europe and beyond. The total number of candidates who have completed the FEAST tests is over 120.000.

FEAST is provided on the basis of the User Pay Principle (UPP).

Benefits

  • High-quality assurance in the test materials, test delivery and standards of test administration and application.
  • Flexible and cost effective tools providing ease of administration and standardized test conditions.
  • More predictive information about applicants’ abilities, thus enabling good selection decisions in order to optimize training success rates.
  • Wide use throughout Europe leading to economies of scale and synergies in test development, maintenance, administration, standards, and application.
  • A harmonised and versatile selection tool, which supports Single European Sky policies and initiatives. Perceived objectivity, fairness and high-selection standards by test takers promotes attractiveness of the job.

Related Articles

Selection Procedures for Air Traffic Controllers

Further Reading

For further information visit: EUROCONTROL FEAST webpage