George Shields

Briefly describe your current role in NDE.
I have recently been appointed UK Operations Manager at Professional Testing Services. The company specialises in pre-fabrica
tion inspection for the renewables sector. I hold several Level II certificates and I am qualified to Level III in radiographic, magnetic particle and ultrasonic inspection. I have recently become an elected member of the BINDT Scottish Branch and I am currently working to achieve my Incorporated Engineer status through the Engineering Council and BINDT.

What does a typical work day involve?
This is a very difficult question to answer. It involves ensuring our clients’ inspection requirements are being fully met, building good working relationships with clients, ensuring safety and financial targets are achieved, providing Level III services where required and managing technicians and workflow within our UK operations.

Why did you choose NDE?
My father was heavily involved with Professional Testing Services and spent his whole life in NDT, so it was an obvious choice for me. Over the past few years, I have worked for various clients in Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany and the UK, including the Outer Hebrides. Meeting people and experiencing different cultures has always appealed to me. I also really enjoy the problem-solving aspect of inspections.

What education/training route did you follow? What other roles/jobs have you had in the past?
I started as a trainee industrial radiographer, based in the UK. I focused on working my way up the organisation, gaining experience and Level II certification in several techniques. I was a Lead Technician for Professional Testing Services when they asked me to undergo my Level III certification a few years ago and I jumped at the chance! The training and examinations were challenging but proved to be invaluable to my work. Prior to my current role, I have been involved in various project management and business development roles, based in both Belgium and the UK.

What would you consider to be your biggest achievements and challenges to date?
Gaining my Level III certification and being elected at Member Grade to BINDT are probably my biggest achievements. I received my results when I was on a family holiday in Cape Town, so that was a particularly memorable moment! I believe that one of the greatest aspects of our sector is that you never stop learning.

What changes, if any, do you foresee for NDE in the future?
The same basic principles that have been applied for many years are still being applied today, albeit in more advanced methods. As engineering projects become increasingly sophisticated, the subsequent inspection is required to be more innovative in its application. There is always potential for new techniques to be developed and existing techniques to be advanced.

NDE is rarely considered a ‘hot topic’ and does not receive much media attention – what do you think about this?
I am a firm believer in ‘no news is good news’. Our industry knows the importance of itself and concentrating on the advancement of techniques and other such priorities is far more important than media attention. I do believe we have a responsibility to encourage more young people to choose careers in the NDT field, which can be difficult due to the lack of media coverage. However, the range of roles within the NDT industry and the opportunities of NDT work worldwide offer exciting career prospects.

How would you describe NDE/NDT to someone who knows little or nothing about it?
Most people will identify with the basic principles of NDT, radiography, ultrasonics and so on, so I find it quite easy to explain.

What is your favourite NDE technique and why? If you could inspect any structure/component, what would it be?
Radiography is by far my favourite technique; trying to shoot the perfect radiograph is almost an art form. I have had some experience with offshore structures and, with the decommissioning sector for these structures growing in the coming years, I would like to get involved with ageing assets and the associated NDT within these areas.

What is your involvement with BINDT?
I have only been a member since February but I am certainly looking forward to the Scottish Branch’s next Burns Supper!

Please get in touch if you have any recommendations for future interviewees or would like to be interviewed yourself. Contact the editor at or email Maria Felice direct at

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