At last – we now have three NDT apprenticeships!

The two key elements of the NDT Engineer apprenticeship have been concluded at the same time. A report has been issued on the event held at the University of Northampton on Friday 21 July 2017, which considered the validation of the BEng (Hons) Non-Destructive Testing degree.

The panel recommended to the Academic Quality and Standards Committee approval of the validation of the BEng (Hons) Non-Destructive Testing to commence delivery from January 2018. Approval is subject to the cycle of Periodic Subject Review. The panel made one condition and one observation of good practice. The condition was that certain documents needed to be reviewed and updated and the panel set a deadline of Friday 29 September 2017 for the response to the condition to be submitted to the Quality Unit for the approval of the panel. The panel identified as good practice the evident close working relationship between the programme team, the professional body (the British Institute of Non-Destructive Testing) and the employer (Rolls-Royce) in designing a programme that was responsive to the needs of industry.

The NDT Engineer apprenticeship has at last been approved. It hasn’t been easy; it has taken over a year to complete the process and there has been frustration and angst. This in no way reflects on the competency and enthusiasm of the employer group, which has diligently, but sometimes reluctantly, complied with all of the government’s requirements, even though these have changed on a regular basis. We have had to cope with changing government staff, who have had differing approaches, and removing reference to important NDT terminology because the government was confused by the NDT levels as compared to the Ofqual attainment levels. However, the biggest frustration, which was a key requirement of the ‘Richard Review of Apprenticeships’, is the necessity for the development of apprenticeships to be employer led. Clearly, the government’s interpretation of this requirement is that the employers bear the brunt of time and cost, while the government retains the decisions as to what is included in the apprenticeships.

Still, enough of these frustrations, we are where we are and we do have three NDT apprenticeships, which we have never seen the like of before.

The NDT apprenticeships and Northampton academic programmes are available for anyone, worldwide. However, there are some caveats:
  • The BEng includes block release periods at the University of Northampton, so this would make it difficult for overseas candidates to comply with.
  • To undertake an NDT apprenticeship you need to be employed by an organisation that is involved with NDT.
  • Only apprentices who live in England and whose office location is in England will be able to draw upon government funding.
  • Overseas candidates (and this definition includes Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland) will need to apply for funding from their own country’s resources.

The apprenticeships are fantastic opportunities for career development, so make the most of this – sign up now and be a winner.

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