Fixing the pipeline

Diversity is one of the strengths of non-destructive testing (NDT). We are proud to be members of a diverse community that people join by following many different career paths. Paying attention to inclusion means that we make sure that all types of member can receive good value from their membership and more people are encouraged to join and contribute in the NDT community.

In 2015, BINDT signed up to the Royal Academy of Engineering’s (RAEng’s) Diversity Concordat, along with other UK professional engineering institutes (PEIs). This was an exciting step that showed that the PEIs formally recognise their role in improving diversity and inclusion (D&I) in engineering. Organisations under the Concordat are committed to communication, action and monitoring. Quite refreshingly, the Concordat is only one page long and can be found in the Diversity and Inclusion section of the BINDT website.

The Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Group (DIAG) was set up shortly after this to help BINDT to implement the Concordat. We have quarterly meetings and reports to Council. We want to increase the profile of diversity and inclusion in BINDT. Like some of the other ‘good things’ we are encouraged to do, it can seem like ‘doing diversity and inclusion’ must be hard work and a bit of a chore. To make it more interesting, the best way to look at it is to identify the opportunities it can bring and how well they align with the Institute’s strategic aims.

An early initiative of the DIAG was to bring in no-cost membership during a career break taken for caring reasons. This intends to tackle a key point where (women especially) might lose contact with engineering and leave the profession.

A current project focuses on ‘board diversity’ and trying to reach increased diversity in committees, including Council. This was flagged up by RAEng as an important area for attention, recognising the need to engage a broad spread of membership, plus the wider NDT community, whether members or not. This is a tricky one, so any suggestions are welcome.

BINDT has held some unconscious bias training for staff and committee members. People may simply not realise that what they think of as normal or traditional actually serves to discourage or even exclude particular groups. When you recognise some of your biases, it can be a revelation.

Following on from the Concordat, RAEng is continuing to use its high profile and key position to push forward and create a more diverse and inclusive environment in engineering, in the domains of large companies, small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and PEIs. According to a recent survey of companies by RAEng: “A significant proportion of engineering employers do not see a link between increasing D&I and reducing the engineering skills gap. However, many see links between D&I and organisational image and reputation, legal compliance, increased collaboration and customer satisfaction.”

Things to look at in the future include:
  • Apprenticeships – Making sure our flagship NDT apprenticeships make a positive contribution to diversity and inclusion in engineering.
  • Inclusive recruitment – Are you missing some great staff, a broader viewpoint or a better connection with a diverse range of customers?
  • SME engagement – By far the majority of employees work in SMEs, but SMEs feel they cannot support the same major, internal initiatives as the big companies. How can BINDT help?

We are very interested to connect with anyone in NDT. If you have any questions or ideas, or if you would like to join us and help, email:

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