Andrew Grant

How long have you been in your current role?

I started my employment with HIAL in September 2017.

Can you tell us a little bit about your background?

While at school I was keen to have a career in aviation as a pilot, aircrew or an engineer. I initially considered a career in the air force but loved living in Shetland too much and made the decision that I would work towards an aviation related job role within Shetland.

When I first left school I looked for jobs as an apprentice engineer but there was very little available within Shetland and after working as a landscape gardener for just over a year I got a job as a domestic appliance technician. This role led onto becoming a qualified electrician and I worked on a wide range of electrical equipment.

After a few years I decided again that I would look at a career within aviation and set about getting my private pilot’s licence. I decided that Highland Aviation based at Inverness Airport would be the best option for this and in a period of just over a year I successfully completed my pilot training. Speaking to Air Traffic at Inverness during my training sparked my interest in air traffic and I started looking at career path options.

I was keen to stay in Shetland, so I decided that I would apply to HIAL when a job became available at Sumburgh Airport and after waiting a while there was a post advertised which I applied for. During my time working as an electrician I was also a volunteer crew member of the Lerwick Lifeboat as a Navigator and this was very good experience working in a high workload environment.

The main focus of my career at the moment is to become a valid aerodrome Air Traffic Control Officer at Sumburgh. In the future after gaining experience I would like to take on further responsibility within the running of the unit at Sumburgh.

Are there any particular challenges?

The most challenging aspect of working at Sumburgh is the nature of the air traffic and the challenging weather conditions, which requires a lot of quick thinking and problem solving; however, this is also what I love most about the job.

What do you love about your job at HIAL…

See above!

What would you say to someone who wanted to work in your role?

I would encourage anyone who is interested in applying for an Air Traffic job at HIAL to speak to people who already do the job and even visit an operational unit as this is the best way to learn more about the job. You do need to have certain skills to do the job, but I don’t think there is any one size fits all, so I would certainly encourage anyone to apply, as individuals may be more suitable than they first think.

How do you spend your time outside of work?

Outside of work I like spending time with my family most and love the outdoors. Shetland is excellent for outdoor activities and I do a lot of running, walking, mountain biking, sailing and flying.