Hey everyone! I'm just going to throw my opinion out there in a jumbled mess, take from it what you wish!
As someone who transferred to Portugal to complete their S3 training and has now long since transferred back through the old system, I can 100% support the new visiting/transferring procedures.
I wanted to specifically pick up a point mentioned by Nihar about the potential for controllers to supposedly "skip the queue" by transferring to a different division or vacc to complete training, then transfer back. I cannot get my head around why some of us frown upon this way of doing it. Firstly, let's take a look at our real life counter parts. Many NATS trainees are sent to places such as Jerez, Spain to complete training before they return to the UK to start working properly. Similarly to this, many pilots also travel to the USA and New Zealand for example to complete their pilot licences. Not only can this provide excellent experience for trainees, it also actually alleviates the pressure from the UK training systems. I don't understand why this cannot be seen in the same light on VATSIM; those who transfer create an extra space for those who don't.
Secondly, with no disrespect to any other divisions, VATSIM UK has, in my opinion, one of the best training departments in the whole of the network. Of course, waiting times are longer than you'd like, but the level of documentation etc is on another level. Some members would prefer to wait for this luxury, while others may prefer something a little less substancial, but would find the thrill of experiencing a new division with different airports and procedures very desirable.
Thirdly, I find it embarrasing the attitude some members of this division have towards the competence of controllers elsewhere. London has undoubtedly some of the most complex airspace in the world and requires very competent controllers to deal with that. However, suggesting that controllers elsewhere are less competent purely because the airspace they have to deal with is less complex is very unfair in my opinion.
That being said, I do believe some self study (you have to put the effort in), consolidated by some mentoring sessions is very appropriate.
In terms of Heathrow, the balance must be that visiting controllers cannot just turn up and expect to immediately be able to control Heathrow with no validation, much like freshly passed home S2 controllers cannot immediately control Heathrow. However, it would be nice to somehow find a way to enable them to control Heathrow if they so wish.
So as you said VATSIM UK is it’s own division so a lot of the intricacies of GCAP don’t make sense for us which has been fed back to the .net and we are still waiting to see what happens with it. Also as GCAP is not current policy we can’t make our policies by guessing what It might contain. This doesn’t mean that we haven’t ignored it completely, we just can’t make our policy depictions based off of it yet so to avoid having no movement at all on V&T we are making the changes above. Policies like V&T are not always set in stone and can and will change as needed in the future if we need to.