Update on existing NDT apprenticeships and development of new apprenticeships

The Operator, Technician and Engineer NDT apprenticeships, the Condition Monitoring (CM) Apprenticeship, the Aerospace Engineer Apprenticeship, the Industrial Coatings Applicator Apprenticeship and the MSc Advanced Industrial Practice…

With over 200 apprentices currently on programme, the NDT apprenticeships are working well, with considerable employer involvement. So far, six apprentices have undergone the end-point assessment (five NDT Engineering Technicians and one NDT Operator) and all have achieved a distinction. 30 NDT Operators, 84 NDT Engineering Technicians and 51 NDT Engineers are set to take their end-point assessments over the next three years. There are a further 42 apprentices whose end-point assessment dates have not yet been confirmed.

At last, the development of the Condition Monitoring (CM) Apprenticeship is about to commence. All permissions have been granted, an Employer Group of reasonable size has been created (we could do with more participants) and an initial Employer Group meeting is being arranged. There are two options: one is to combine the CM Apprenticeship proposal with the existing NDT apprenticeships and the other is to create a standalone CM apprenticeship. In order to minimise the disruption to the NDT apprenticeships, my choice would be to develop a standalone CM apprenticeship.

The application for the Aerospace Engineer Apprenticeship end-point assessment is to go ahead. The original request came from Rolls-Royce plc, which asked us to consider registering as an End-Point Assessment Organisation (EPAO) for the Aerospace Engineer Apprenticeship. Following presentations to the HR department of Rolls-Royce, Rolls-Royce Technical Officers and BAE Systems, the main employer (by email), we have been waiting for feedback on whether to proceed or not. Recently, I have received notification from Rolls-Royce asking us to proceed with the EPAO application.

The Industrial Coatings Applicator Apprenticeship has been held up by the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education (IfA&TE) because of a change to its processes and the development of a new database. At last, we have had approval of our stage-one application and the go-ahead to commence with stage two; hopefully it will not take much longer. We have about nine apprentices on programme who will be due their end-point assessment in the coming year.

The MSc Advanced Industrial Practice (NDT) degree is about to get started, but there is still an opportunity to sign up for this year’s uptake.

The proposed programmes of study are aimed specifically at those in positions of responsibility working in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM)-based disciplines, such as non-destructive testing, condition monitoring or structural health monitoring (SHM), who want to develop their expertise within their current profession. The flexible, innovative framework provides learners not only with the opportunity to gain recognition for professional experience and practice, but also to negotiate learning within the workplace to achieve a postgraduate qualification (PGCert, PGDip, MSc or MRes). This innovative approach enables learners to enhance their effectiveness in their current role while simultaneously working towards a qualification.

This MSc degree proposal will be of interest to NDT Level 3 personnel and to IEng-registered engineers.

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