The importance of the NDT project

This month I am focusing on the importance of the NDT project, which applies to both the NDT Engineering Technician and the NDT Operator apprenticeships...

When the employers developed the NDT Engineering Technician assessment plan, it became clear that the government would not accept qualifications and other demonstrations of competence gained during the apprenticeship as evidence of achieving the required knowledge and skills. The evidence or determination that the apprentice had acquired the necessary knowledge and skills would be substantiated at the holistic end-point assessment. The end-point assessment, which includes a ‘review of evidence and achievements’, ‘product showcase presentation – NDT project’ and ‘synoptic assessment interview’, will be carried out by an independent assessment organisation chosen by the employer. Breaking News – BINDT has just learnt that it has been approved as an independent assessment organisation for the NDT Engineering Technician apprenticeship and the Nuclear Welding Inspector Technician apprenticeship.

So, the challenge was: How do we holistically test all aspects of the knowledge, skills and behaviours identified in the apprenticeship standard without simply repeating the good work that the ATOs, AQBs and other training organisations have undertaken? The employers determined that the best way to achieve this was by including the ‘product showcase presentation – NDT project’. The NDT project would be assigned to the apprentice six months into the apprenticeship and, in the case of the NDT Engineering Technician apprenticeship, would need to be completed in two and a half years (at the end of the apprenticeship). The NDT project will be designed by the employer and can relate to the employer’s materials, equipment, product technology, technique development and/or R&D activities.

The NDT project, which requires a project report and a presentation delivered at the end-point assessment, would allow the apprentice to demonstrate their NDT knowledge and skills, together with other knowledge and skills identified in the apprenticeship standard, such as ‘mathematics, including numerical and data analysis’, ‘formula-based engineering and scientific principles’, ‘using materials, equipment, tools, processes and products relating to NDT’ and ‘product technology, including material types, defect types, defect mechanisms, growth rates and industry-specific NDT applications’. At the end-point assessment, the apprentice would be questioned on all aspects of the report and presentation.

Because the NDT Operator apprenticeship only requires one NDT method and is only eighteen months long, the employers wanted to take a different approach but the government were not convinced that the end-point assessment tested the skills sufficiently, so the NDT project concept has also been introduced into the NDT Operator assessment plan.

Next month, I will discuss the behaviours, which started off as an optional extra but are now a compulsory element of any apprenticeship.

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