NDT Engineer Apprenticeship – tantalisingly close…

The Employer Group is still waiting for approval of the final document, the NDT Engineer Assessment Plan. So, what is the delay? Since we first submitted the assessment plan the organisation responsible for assessments has changed from the Skills Funding Agency (SFA) to the Institute for Apprenticeships (IfA). Consequently, policies have changed, personnel on the judging panels have changed and even the lead person for assessment plans has changed. This has resulted in numerous revisions of the plan in order to satisfy the policy and people in place at the time of submission.

The latest submission resulted in an agreement that a face-to-face meeting between myself, John Moody (Technical Support Engineer, BINDT), Neil Bunch (Relationship Manager, IfA) and Kabay Silla (Assessment Plan Lead, IfA) in London would be the sensible way of closing out the final version of the NDT Engineer Assessment Plan. We had the meeting and agreed the changes, so I am hoping that once I have carried out the modifications, the IfA Assessment Plan Lead will be able to approve the document.

The final version of the assessment plan looks very different to the original version, but the fundamentals are still there. The apprenticeship has been developed in such a way that it enables any university to develop an NDT BSc or an NDT BEng to be included within the apprenticeship and it is the Employer Group’s wish that participating universities recognise the contribution and overlap of an NDT Level 3 certificate or Letter of Approval and offer credits where appropriate. It is also an employer’s preferred option for the apprentice to undertake an NDT Level 3 as part of the apprenticeship, which will not necessarily extend the duration nor overlap with the requirement for knowledge and skills.

The University of Northampton is increasing its portfolio of NDT degrees by developing an NDT BEng that will meet the requirements of the apprenticeship but will include a blend of distance learning and block release. Please see the article at the top of the page regarding this development. It is also worth pointing out that both the University of Northampton’s BSc and BEng degrees meet the requirements of the NDT Engineer apprenticeship and both will be available outside of the apprenticeship programme, if that is what employers/candidates choose to do. Please note that there is considerable funding available for English companies, but this is only applicable if the degree is attempted within the apprenticeship. For many years, the NDT sector has struggled to attract funding for education and vocational training. Now, successive governments have rebranded apprenticeship schemes, the latest being the Trailblazer scheme, which has allowed the NDT Employer Group to develop robust, extensively-funded apprenticeships at three levels. Employers are encouraged to make full use of these opportunities.

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