Tantalisingly close…

Version 2 of the NDT Engineer apprenticeship has now been submitted to the Approvals Team at the Skills Funding Agency (SFA) for approval and publishing. This is a lengthy process, which is mainly due to government timetables and the volume of applications the SFA has to deal with. However, this is necessary to get it right and it will be worth it in the long run. It is also worth taking this opportunity to give a reminder of the profile of the NDT Engineer:

NDT Engineers exist in large organisations, very often in small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), and they are the lead authority for NDT competence within their organisation. The NDT Engineer works in specific industries, such as nuclear, aerospace, motorsport, power generation and distribution, manufacturing, railways, oil & gas (on- and offshore), marine and construction. Real-life examples could include inspecting airframes and engines, Formula 1 gearboxes and nuclear reactors or other safety-critical components. They are among the most senior NDT staff within an organisation and are often responsible for the oversight of all NDT operations, including the preparation of work plans and NDT procedures for other staff to work in accordance with. NDT Engineers use their acquired knowledge, skills and behaviours to enable NDT systems to operate safely, efficiently and in an environmentally-sustainable way, meeting the requirements set out by the employer and those of the professional body. NDT Engineers maintain and manage applications of current and developing technology and undertake engineering design and development within manufacturing, construction and operations. NDT Engineers demonstrate theoretical knowledge to solve problems in developed technologies using well-proven analytical techniques and successfully apply their knowledge to deliver engineering projects or services using established technologies and methods. NDT Engineers provide financial planning and management, together with taking some responsibility for leading and developing other professional staff. Their knowledge and skills will include cutting-edge NDT techniques, such as corrosion analysis, thermographic testing, vibration analysis and advanced inspection techniques.

What this means, in simple terms, is that employers will be able to develop their employees by offering them an NDT Engineer apprenticeship, which could include an NDT Level 3, a foundation degree, a BSc or BEng degree in NDT and condition monitoring and a BSc Hons or BEng Hons degree. Depending on whether the employer is a levy payer, which NDT Level 3 is attempted and what credits the apprentice may achieve due to prior learning, the apprenticeship training could be fully funded.
MSc Advanced Industrial Practice (by negotiation) in Non-Destructive Testing, Condition Monitoring or Structural Health monitoring, the MSc degree developed by the University of Northampton and BINDT, is well under way and the validation and key dates are being arranged. BINDT is negotiating with the University of Northampton to manage the first year of the MSc through the Engineering Council IEng registration process, but there will be more to come on this at a later date.
As I mentioned in the last update, there is no reason why an existing degree programme, in this case the MSc Advanced Industrial Practice, could not be back-fitted into an apprenticeship at a later date, which is something we have done before. However, this could require significant government support with funding.

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