Graduate Blog

Hi, my name is Ross Smillie and I am a Systems Analyst within the Airports & Airspace (A&A) Team at Osprey. I am a 22-year-old graduate from Glasgow, Scotland.

Prior to joining Osprey, I gained a BSc (Hons) in Aviation Management at Coventry University. Although my university course was mainly focused around airlines, it also included other elements such as Project Management, Aviation Strategy, Airport Operations and Human Factors. I have always had a passion for air traffic control and airport operations as my dad has worked in the industry for 35 years.

While I was completing my degree, I took part in a year-long industrial placement at NATS, based at the Prestwick Air Traffic Control Centre in Scotland. During this time, I worked in the Oceanic System Design & Assurance team responsible for all engineering and project tasks relating to airspace above the eastern side of the North Atlantic. This included the introduction of near real-time space-based surveillance across the North Atlantic, which was a world-first!

Testing space-based ADS-B at NATS (no live traffic affected!)

On return to university, I completed my undergraduate dissertation entitled “Integrated Air Traffic Services using Remote Tower Operations”. This essentially looked at the feasibility and human performance issues of providing ground, tower, and approach air traffic services, simultaneously, from a remote location, away from a conventional control tower.    

Dissertation hand-in (virtually)

I joined Osprey in June 2020, right in the middle of the COVID-19 lockdown. This was a very unusual experience as I did not (and still have not) been able to physically meet any of the Osprey team in person. My first week at Osprey was full of induction related activities. This not only included your usual HR tasks (Health & Safety, Data Protection etc) but was jam packed with opportunities to introduce myself (albeit virtually) to many of the wider organisation, as well as the A&A team. In addition to this, there was a large amount of support available from my line manager and the Osprey Recruitment Manager, who talked me through the Graduate Development Programme (GDP). My first impressions of Osprey were very positive. All staff, regardless of their position within the organisation or experience level were really kind and welcoming, making the induction process intense, but relaxing.

Working from home on Day One!

The GDP is a relatively new syllabus as far as Osprey is concerned. It is centred around gaining evidence to eventually support an application for chartership with a professional body. Unlike previous early careers schemes, I have been involved in, the emphasis is on you (the graduate) to drive the programme forward, making it extremely flexible. For example, traditionally, Osprey staff have taken the chartership route with the IET. However, the GDP has given me the flexibility to move away from this and focus on gaining chartership from APM, as this aligns with my long-term career goals, with Project Management at the heart of these goals. 

Since joining Osprey I have had the opportunity to get involved with lots of different projects. This is one of the aspects I most enjoy: you get to work on so many different projects and not every project is the same, making your working life both varied and exciting. Since joining in June, I have been developing a complex proposal to support a client operating within the UK Space Industry, working towards a potential heliport Licensing and project support at a major UK airport, various Airspace Change Proposals (including attending meetings with the regulator) and most recently the activation of a brand-new UK airport!

In line with my career development aspirations, I’m really looking forward to starting a project management related role on what will be a once-in-a-generation project for the UK.  I’ll share further details in the next instalment of my blog…

If you are interested in finding out more about our Graduate Development Programme, please contact [email protected]

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