SOP - VATSIM SOUTHERN AFRICA MENTORSCategory: Divisional Policy | Southern Africa Division Policy
To achieve a standard method and approach on training within VATSIM Southern Africa, this SOP for mentors has been developed. The SOP focuses generally on responsibilities of the mentor but also provides guidelines and tips. Moreover, it is important this document is kept alive, continually evaluated and amended as the training situation is in motion.
The core of the Training Department‘s attitude is to provide the organization with skilled members, ready and trained, to provide ATC throughout our network. To deliver this, we need to work efficiently and more importantly helping each other to reach this goal.
Student progression towards ATC ratings in VATSIM Southern Africa is described in the SOP for students. All mentors are to be fully aware of the steps the student has to undergo to achieve their ratings and do as much as they can to ensure their journey is as smooth as possible.
Responsibilities and Expectations
VATSIM Southern Africa expects the following from ATC Mentors:
1. Mentors are prepared to work with different types of individuals and provide the same quality of training to everyone.
2. Mentors are dedicated to teaching and will deliver training in a professional manner.
3. Mentors propose at least one date per fortnight for training to students. If availability permits, at least one session per week is considered a recommended average.
4. Mentors must show up prepared for all sessions, with clear goals and objectives for the session to present to the student.
5. Mentors, before, during and after the session must provide appropriate feedback in a respectful manner and de-brief the session in a way that allows the student to reflect upon their own performance and not only direct feedback from the mentors.
6. Mentors must stay current with local and general procedures.
7. Mentors must understand that they represent the VATSIM Southern Africa Training Department and conduct themselves in an appropriate manner whilst connected to the VATSIM Network and its affiliated services (forums, TeamSpeak etc.).
Standard process of training
In order to provide a high quality and effective training, the process has been standardized and should in be adhered to by all FIRs in VATSIM Southern Africa. It should be considered as a guideline rather than rule and should allow for local variations in each FIR as approved by the Training Director. Every mentor must be familiar with the process and should consult this document before contacting the training staff with questions regarding the next step in the training process.
The training process will take place as follows:
- Students apply for training via the VATME HQ System and an authorised mentor.
- Every mentor is responsible to check the HQ mentoring sessions to ensure all students requests are picked and allocated.
- The Mentor will communicate and confirm each mentoring session. If a S1 students need to take an exam, the mentor will request the appropriate exam token for the student from the vACC Director or ATC Director. The S1 test may be delayed in individual cases, e.g. if the student is unlikely to be successful without prior theoretical training. The S1 test may be combined with local theory tests where applicable.
- When students have passed the S1 test, the assigned mentor will continue with the training sessions.
- The mentor is responsible for assigning relevant HQ content to the student and to file training reports after every session, in accordance with the Training Report section of this document.
- During training, the student must comply with the requirements stated in the SOP for Students. If the student violates the SOP, it will be the mentor’s decision on whether this transgression may be overlooked. If any further violations occur, the vACC Director and/or ATC Director must be consulted to determine what course of action is to be followed.
- When the students are ready for their first online session, the mentor or ATC Instructor(*1) requests the S1 rating upgrade from the vACC Director and/or ATC Director. To avoid unnecessary rating upgrades, the S1 upgrade must not be requested before the student is ready for the first online session(*2).
- The S2 test may be requested from the Director and/or ATC Director at any time during the training, but should in general be sought in relation to the CPT.
- When a student has passed the S2 test, the students should be instructed to contact the vACC Director and/or ATC Director with at least three dates within the ensuing three-week period that they are available for a CPT. Solo Endorsement may be approved for the relevant position once the CPT has been scheduled.
- The Director and/or ATC Director contacts the Examiners to schedule the CPT.
*1 According to local agreements between mentor‘s and their respective vACC ATC Instructors.
*2 Applies to the S2 course only.
During all online training sessions, the mentor should include the following in the ATIS text field:
Mentoring [student] on ICAO_POS. I.e. “Mentoring John Doe on FAOR_TWR”.
The Training Report
Training Reports are recorded in HQ and must be filed within three days of every session unless the mentor and Director and/or ATC Director have agreed otherwise. Below are tips and guidelines for how the training reports are to be written, the headings correspond to the titles of the text boxes in the TAS Training Report.
The date the session took place. Upon opening the training report page, this box will be populated with the current date. Change this as necessary to reflect the date the session took place.
The position that was worked during the session, denote if the session was conducted on Sweatbox.
Examples: “FAOR_TWR (Sweatbox)”, “FASA Sector”.
The session’s objectives. These should be clearly communicated to the student before the session and reflected upon during de-brief and in the training report. Example: “Use correct IFR clearance phraseology, coordinate non-standard clearances with the overlying facility and relay them to the pilot, issue re-routes and altitudes per LOP”.
Comments on Session
“This happened” (is to be written objectively)
Example: Most of the traffic was handled per LOP/LOA. SAA779 was given FL200 after departure by GND which led to a conflict for East bound dep. Traffic misunderstood the met-report as the term RVR was not used.
Areas to Improve
What needs to be done to get closer to the curricula? What can the student and mentor do? This should reflect what is being said in the descriptive part but also what the plan is for the following session.
Example: The trainee will study the METAR decoding sheets to give the traffic proper information regarding different weather situations at the airport. The trainee should study the Initial Climbs for SID’s at FAOR. Mentor will give an oral progress check next time.
Remember, we build confidence on what the student is doing correctly and we put that into focus. We should however not put any judgment into the reports. Rather than writing: You separated the traffic well or perfectly, we should write that the traffic was separated per the regulations or similar. It is important to keep in mind that during the training, we train and during the examination we assess.
Any mentor with a rating higher than the Refresh student's or equal to C1 can conduct Refresh training. The mentor should evaluate the Refresh student’s capabilities and train them in the areas where skills or knowledge are lacking. When the mentors deem the students ready to return to Active status, they should file a Training report with a summary of the training. If the mentor orDirector and/or ATC Director finds that the Refresh students does not need any refresh training and is ready to return to Active status immediately, the reasoning and arguments for this considering the duration of inactivity, should be presented in a Training report.
The mentor will then contact the Director and/or ATC Director who will review the Training report and approve the return to Active status.