To appreciate NDT apprenticeships it is important to understand the historical perspective

When I first started working in non-destructive testing (NDT) in January 1972, there were not any opportunities to enrol in an NDT apprenticeship. It was left to employers to train their staff; training schools were limited and employers often had to rely on equipment manufacturers to provide appropriate training. In 1979, when I joined the Central Electricity Generating Board (CEGB), it became apparent not only that employers trained their own staff but also that many of the larger employers had created their own NDT schemes, such as BGAS, Scrata, CSWIP and the CEGB. During the later part of the 1980s, CSWIP offered its scheme as a basis for merging all of the existing NDT schemes into a single scheme, which gave birth to what is now known as PCN. During the 1980s/1990s, the Engineering Construction Industry Training Board (ECITB) developed an NDT apprenticeship; however, it was only applicable to manufacturing (construction) and not in-service inspection. The other limitation with the ECITB apprenticeship scheme was that the output was NVQs, whereas most industry procurement specifications initially quoted British standards and then European and international standards, all of which required different NDT certification/

So, when the opportunity presented itself, BINDT and the NDT Employer Group decided to get involved with the development of a suite of Trailblazer apprenticeships. This provided recruitment opportunities for employers, career prospects for apprentices (both young and old, as apprenticeships can be used to upskill existing staff), development of high-level competencies, consistency across different employers and sectors, Engineering Council registration and access to considerable funding. It makes sense to be involved in this golden opportunity.

To find out more, there are a number of opportunities for employers and prospective apprentices to attend forums, workshops and conferences to learn more about apprenticeships and employment opportunities.

Employer Forum – Bridging the Skills Gap in the NDT Sector 
(15 May 2019)

Venue: Advanced Manufacturing Training Centre, Coventry, UK.
Delivered by some of the UK’s leading NDT training providers, benefits of this event include the opportunity to: meet ‘one to one’ with industry experts; decide your training provision, including employer-centric bespoke solutions; find out about training programmes for Level 2 NDT Operator, Level 3 NDT Engineering Technician and Level 6 degree-standard NDT Engineer; receive guidance on the apprenticeship levy and government funding; and discover how new legislation means that employers’ contributions have dropped to 5%.

I will be giving a presentation at this event on the importance of apprenticeships to the NDT industry. Other speakers will include leading industry professionals, who will outline why they have adopted the apprenticeship route to meet their organisation’s skills requirements, along with apprentices, who will talk about their career progression through this route. Tickets can be reserved at:

CM 2019 – The Sixteenth International Conference on Condition Monitoring and Asset Management (25-27 June 2019)
Venue: The Principal Grand Central Hotel, Glasgow, Scotland, UK.
Following the very successful introduction of three NDT apprenticeships, the Institute for Apprenticeships (IfA) has given its consent for the development of a condition monitoring (CM) apprenticeship. The development of apprenticeships is employer led, that is to say, employers decide what knowledge, skills and behaviours (KSBs) are included in the apprenticeship.

Materials Testing 2019 (3-5 September 2019)
Venue: The International Centre, Telford, UK.
Materials Testing, the most comprehensive exhibition in the world of testing for quality, NDT, materials testing, condition monitoring and diagnostic technology, returns in 2019 with a new range of features and industry speakers, including presentations on NDT and condition monitoring 

For further information about these events, contact the BINDT Conferences and Events Department. Tel: +44 (0)1604 438300.

MSc Advanced Industrial Practice (NDT)
MSc Advanced Industrial Practice (Non-Destructive Testing, Condition Monitoring and Structural Health Monitoring)
  • Duration of programme: two to five years
  • Start dates: January, May and October
  • Mode of delivery: work-based blended learning
  • Entry requirements: Incorporated/Chartered Engineer (NDT)
Roger Lyon CEng HonFInstNDT, BINDT, Midsummer House, Riverside Way, Bedford Road, Northampton NN1 5NX. Tel: +44 (0)7780 498060; Email:

Nigel P Freestone BSc MPhil PhD FHEA, Faculty of Arts, Science and Technology, The University of Northampton. Tel: +44 (0)1604 893358; Email:

Comments by members

This forum post has no comments, be the first to leave a comment.

Submit your comment

You need to log in to submit a Comment. Please click here to log in or register.

<< Back