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Andy Warren - National Air Traffic Services Ltd (NATS)

Andy Warren

July 2009 to July 2010

I have had an excellent placement year at NATS; having had the opportunity to get involved in a number of interesting projects such as: the Annual Delay Forecast, iFacts Implementation and Runway Capacity Studies. These have broadened my understanding of many of the processes that go on at NATS and in the aviation industry.

During my year, I have learnt a lot of techniques on how to manipulate and analyse large data sources, using and improving my skills on programs such as Microsoft Access, Excel and Visual Basic Programming. I was then able to use these techniques to speed up processes and create programmes to solve problems on large data tasks.

I used a number of different operational research methods, coming up with sensible and logical methods to solve the tasks assigned to me. For example, I used "Queuing Theory" to model the amount of delay generated when a stack of planes are waiting in a queue for take-off slots. Being able to apply and use methods and techniques learnt at university successfully in real world situations is a great encouragement. I have also made a resource tool for the Team leaders to use to track current/open projects and hours and work done by departmental employees. This gives a departmental overview showing team utilisation, as well as showing which employees are not being 100% utilised, allowing the managers to assign new work to these employees.

In addition I've also had the opportunity to prepare reports and deliver findings of my analysis in presentations, which are excellent new skills to learn.

Looking back, I feel that this placement as an Assistant Research Analyst at NATS has made me a more rounded person, helping me learn more about myself and others, and increasing my independence and self-confidence. It has also given me a great insight into the business world and the life skills employers expect and value, and has given me the incentive and motivation to achieve going into my final year at university.