4,000 apply for 25 jobs as trainee air traffic controllers
A RECORD 4,132 people have applied for just 25 air traffic controller training positions.
The Irish Aviation Authority received 165 applications for every student place they had available on their two-year programme.
Spokesman Martin Towey said the last time they recruited was in 2007 -- and they received 1,386 applications for about 25 places.
He said they anticipated even greater interest this time as a result of the economic crisis and they will spend a number of weeks going through them.
More than 900 applications were received in the last few hours before yesterday's deadline. The initial closing time was midday -- but they extended it until 4pm in order to allow Leaving Cert students to collect their results and then decide whether to apply.
"It takes a certain type of person to do the job," said Mr Towey, adding that they expected applications for the 25 coveted places to come from all age groups and all walks of life.
"You could be the smartest person in the country, but you need spatial awareness among other things. Not everyone is cut out for it."
He said that despite the common perception that air traffic controllers spent the majority of their time organising flights to land and depart, most of their time was taken up with aiding flights that were transitioning our airspace but were not actually landing here.
"Our main business is en-route flights and that's based in Ballycasey in Shannon."
The lucky ones who get called will have to sit a written aptitude test, then a computer aptitude test and two interviews.
The students will be based in Dublin, Shannon and Cork and will be paid an annual allowance of €18,506. Their salary -- when qualified -- will start at €50,805.
The surge in the number of applications is mirrored across the country as people battle to secure jobs.
This year, more than 2,500 graduates and school-leavers sought a career in the Air Corps, Army and Navy. Only 27 cadetship posts were available on starting salaries of €30,000.
There were at least 94 applications for every position on offer, including 718 applications for the two pilot positions in the Air Corps, 1,444 for 20 Army posts and 375 for five Navy jobs. In 2006, there were only 1,100 applications for cadetships.
However, it is not just permanent jobs that are popular.
Earlier this year, the owner of Charley's Cafe in Letterkenny, Co Donegal, received 400 applications for a part-time position as a dishwasher in a chip shop.
Paying the minimum wage for a 29 to 35-hour week, applications were received from as far afield as Poland and the Czech Republic.